Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Comments by Lovemylittleboy

Showing 30 of 30 comments.

  • Frank. How telling that you seize on one word in my entire statement to make your argument. This was the 1800’s and “moral” was the type of word that they used then. One again, you ignored all my cited references to historical documentation to spout your own comments without citing any references or acknowledging that you are misinformed when you say no one had ADHD 60 years ago. These doctors also use the termed “impulsive” and “hyperactive”, “inattentive” and the moral term related to their actions of hurting others. Indeed, many studies have shown (see below) that prisoners have substantially higher rates of ADHD and medication reduces crime and violent attacks by helping to control impulsivity. So in that context “moral”, especially for the 1800’s, was an appropriate word.
    http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/719862

  • I am really sorry this happened to you. Don’t think I medicated without much tears and consultation and desperation. Any drugs, even natural supplements can have bad consequences. But I know 4 maybe 5 people who I believe have ADHD with severe impulse control issues in my own family, living lives of drug use and prison who might have had a better chance at decent lives with medication. It’s a horrible decision to have to make and one I do not take lightly. It keeps me up at night and keeps me in tears constantly.

  • David. You say I am not “persuadable”. But what you don’t know is that I did not used to believe in medicating. I thought there were ADHD issues but they could be dealt with through discipline and diet and other natural ways until I started raising a child with ADHD. You also say there is no scientific evidence of ADHD but I find all kinds of studies r.e. differences in the brain of ADHD people. Also there is an Israeli study that presents more physical evidence r.e. eye blinking, attention and ADHD.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0042698914001187

    As well as the following studies.

    Two anterior regions of the corpus callosum were significantly smaller

    in ADHD boys. MRI scans assessed the frontal circuitry in 18 ADHD boys in comparison to 18 matched controls. They found that two anterior regions of the corpus callosum (the rostrum and the rostral body) were significantly smaller and concluded that this was evidence for frontal lobe dysfunction and abnormal development. The callosal fibres in the rostral body relate to the premotor cortex, which is critical for “the suppression of relatively automatic responses to certain sensory stimuli”. This is consistent with a defect in the person’s ability to inhibit responses, which is considered by Barkley to be the fundamental deficit in ADHD.

    Brain Imaging Data of ADHD. It’s Not Just 3 Neurotransmitters

    Psychiatric Times August 2004 Vol. XXI Issue 9. Amir Raz, Ph.D.

    Neuroimaging assays have most consistently implicated abnormalities of the dorsal prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia in ADHD.

    Reduced metabolic rates have been reported in the left sensorimotor area in children with ADHD and in the premotor and superior prefrontal cortices of adults with ADHD.

    Positron emission tomography data from 10 adolescents with ADHD found reduced metabolic rates versus healthy controls in, among other regions, the left anterior frontal area, showing negative correlation with numerous symptom severity measure.

    Smaller volumes of the right prefrontal cortex have been reported in children with ADHD compared with healthy controls.

    Magnetic resonance imaging data demonstrated smaller right globus pallidus nuclei in boys with ADHD relative to a control group.

    Individuals with ADHD had significantly smaller brain volumes in all regions, even after adjustment for significant covariates. This global difference was reflected in smaller total cerebral volumes and in significantly smaller cerebellar volumes.

    Unmedicated children with ADHD also exhibited smaller total white matter volumes compared with controls and with medicated children with ADHD.

    fMRI studies have reported abnormal activation of the striatum, prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex in ADHD.

    Whereas control participants activated the anterior cingulate cortex, participants with ADHD seemed to rely on the anterior insula–a brain region typically associated with responses in more routine tasks not involving conflict.

    Brain Scans Reveal Physiology of ADHD

    Psychiatric News 2004. New high-resolution, three-dimensional maps of the brains of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder indicate significant and specific anatomical differences within areas of the brain thought to control attentional and inhibitory control systems, compared with brain scans of children without ADHD.

    The images are thought to be the most advanced to date to reveal the anatomical basis of the disorder. Includes two 3d scan photos.

    Cerebral glucose metabolism in adults with ADHD

    The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers measured adults with ADHD with a PET scan. None of the adults had ever been treated with stimulant medication. RESULTS. Global cerebral glucose metabolism was 8.1 percent lower in the adults with hyperactivity than in the normal controls. The largest reductions were in the premotor cortex and the superior prefrontal cortex–areas earlier shown to be involved in the control of attention and motor activity. The largest reductions were in the premotor cortex and the superior prefrontal cortex–areas earlier shown to be involved in the control of attention and motor activity.

    The dopamine theory of ADHD

    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. The dopamine theory of ADHD is supported by neuroimaging, genetic and stimulant medication studies, which confirm an inhibitory dopaminergic effect at striatal/prefrontal level. Anterior and posterior attention systems are involved in inhibition, working memory and orientation. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms and subtypes are likely to reflect deficits in both inhibition and working memory, and may be heterogenous.

    PET, SPECT Studies Find More Evidence of Dopamine’s Role in ADHD

    From Medscape. Free registration required. Studies using positron emission tomography (PET) and other approaches suggest new details about the underlying biology of ADHD. Released here at the 50th annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine. 3 different studies mentioned.

    Caudate nucleus volume asymmetry predicts ADHD symptomatology in children.

    Journal of Child Neurology. 2002 Dec;17(12):877-84 Schrimsher GW, Billingsley RL, Jackson EF, Moore BD 3rd. Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA.

    A greater degree of right to left caudate volume asymmetry predicted subclinical inattentive behaviors in a sample of nonreferred children. This finding is congruent with neuroanatomic models of attention emphasizing lateralized alteration in prefrontal/striatal systems. The results support the view that clinical ADHD is the extreme of a behavioral continuum that extends into the normal population.

    ADHD is characterized by a delay in cortical maturation

    Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of the USA
    We found maturation to progress in a similar manner regionally in both children with and without ADHD, with primary sensory areas attaining peak cortical thickness before polymodal, high-order association areas. However, there was a marked delay in ADHD in attaining peak thickness throughout most of the cerebrum: the median age by which 50% of the cortical points attained peak thickness for this group was 10.5 years (SE 0.01), which was significantly later than the median age of 7.5 years (SE 0.02) for typically developing controls (log rank test χ(1)2 = 5,609, P < 1.0 × 10−20). The delay was most prominent in prefrontal regions important for control of cognitive processes including attention and motor planning. Neuroanatomic documentation of a delay in regional cortical maturation in ADHD has not been previously reported.
    Supporting info and movies here

    Cortical Thinning of the Attention and Executive Function Networks in Adults with ADHD

    Cerebral Cortex 2007 17(6):1364-1375. ADHD has been associated with structural alterations in brain networks influencing cognitive and motor behaviors. Volumetric studies in children identify abnormalities in cortical, striatal, callosal, and cerebellar regions.

    We carried out a structural magnetic resonance imaging study of cortical thickness in the same sample of adults with ADHD… Compared with healthy adults, adults with ADHD showed selective thinning of cerebral cortex in the networks that subserve attention and EF. In the present study, we found significant cortical thinning in ADHD in a distinct cortical network supporting attention especially in the right hemisphere involving the inferior parietal lobule, the dorsolateral prefrontal, and the anterior cingulate cortices. This is the first documentation that ADHD in adults is associated with thinner cortex in the cortical networks that modulate attention and EF.

    Attention and Executive Systems Abnormalities in Adults with Childhood ADHD: A DT-MRI Study of Connections

    Cerebral Cortex 2008 18(5):1210-1220; doi:10.1093/cercor/bhm156. In this study of adults with childhood ADHD, we hypothesized that fiber pathways subserving attention and executive functions (EFs) would be altered. To this end, the cingulum bundle (CB) and superior longitudinal fascicle II (SLF II) were investigated in vivo in 12 adults with childhood ADHD and 17 demographically comparable unaffected controls using DT-MRI. Relative to controls, the fractional anisotropy (FA) values were significantly smaller in both regions of interest in the right hemisphere, in contrast to a control region (the fornix), indicating an alteration of anatomical connections within the attention and EF cerebral systems in adults with childhood ADHD. The demonstration of FA abnormalities in the CB and SLF II in adults with childhood ADHD provides further support for persistent structural abnormalities into adulthood.

    Volumetric MRI analysis comparing subjects having ADHD

    with normal controls. Despite similar hemispheric volumes, ADHD subjects had smaller volumes of (1) left total caudate and caudate head (p <0.04), with reversed asymmetry (p < 0.03); (2) right anterior-superior (frontal) region en bloc (p < 0.03) arid white matter (p < 0.01); (3) bilateral anterior-inferior region en bloc (p <0.04); and (4) bilateral retrocallosal (parietal-occipital) region white matter (p < 0.03). Possible structural correlates of ADHD response to stimulants were noted in an exploratory analysis, with the smallest and symmetric caudate, and smallest left anterior-superior cortex volumes found in the responders, but reversed caudate asymmetry and the smallest retrocallosal white matter volumes noted in the nonresponders.

    ADHD: More Prevalent Than We Thought?

    LARISSA HIRSCH, MD Instructor of pediatrics at New York Presbyterian Hospital, medical editor for KidsHealth.org and CHARLES A. POHL, MD, professor of pediatrics and associate dean of student affairs and career counseling at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia

    There are frequently stories in the news and talk among the public of the over-diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in today's hypervigilant society. However, a study recently published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine may serve to debunk this common belief…Interestingly, only 47.9% of the caregivers of children who met the DSM-IV criteria in the past year reported that the disorder had been diagnosed in their child…Children from the lowest income group received less consistent treatment than those in higher income groups.

    The Froehlich study indicates that we are under-diagnosing ADHD. We need to be on the lookout for children with this disorder, make an accurate diagnosis, and do our best to follow affected children closely.

  • Well Frank you make comments about there being no history for ADHD and say it was just created in 1980 because that’s when it went into the manual, as if somehow that is when a disease begins. I cite you a historical reference and you say it is made up. So here are some more for you to say are made up so you can keep making comments without citing references and continue supporting the flat earth brigade.
    Sir George Frederic Still first Professor of Pediatrics at Kings College in London in 1902 describes the cases of 20 children (15 boys, 5 girls, does that ratio sound familiar) who show a “defect of moral control as a morbid manifestation without general impairment of intellect without physical disease”. They show an “exaggeration of excitability, impulsiveness and failure to control emotional activities”, with a “quite ABNORMAL INCAPACITY FOR SUSTAINED ATTENTION”. “Both parents and teachers noted this feature in some of my cases as something unusual” he said. Franz Kramer (1878-1967) and Hans Pollnow reported of a “hyperkinetic disease of infancy, motor drive and restlessness and difficulty playing with other children”. German Physician Heinrich Hoffmann in 1844 wrote books called “FIDGETY PHIL” and “JOHNNY LOOK-IN-THE-AIR” to help children who were dealing with “inattentive difficulties” who were often “easily distracted by stimuli”. In the book Johnny is so “distracted” that he collides with a dog and falls in the river. In 1937 Charles Bradley reported a positive effect of a stimulant medication for kids with these behavior disorders characterized by a “SHORT ATTENTION SPAN, MOOD LABILITY, HYPERACTIVITY, IMPULSIVENESS and SHORT MEMORY.” Ritalin was created in 1954 for these children who were already known about for years.

  • Here’ another article stating the French rate is actually 3.5%-5.6%. Who knows. But I do know they have a much narrower description so fewer kids can be identified and because of their medical system the average wait is 8 MONTHS to see a doctor regarding the problems. Curious about the long term results.

    Prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and associated features among children in France.

    Lecendreux M1, Konofal E, Faraone SV.

    Author information

    Found this article in Psychology Today. Estimated ADHD rate in France

    BACKGROUND:

    Earlier studies point to the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to be similar around the world. There is, however, a wide variety in estimates. The prevalence of ADHD in youth has never been examined in France.

    METHOD:

    Starting with 18 million telephone numbers, 7,912 numbers are randomly selected. Among the 4,186 eligible families, 1,012 (24.2%) are successfully recruited. A telephone interview is administered to all families about a child in the 6 to 12 age range. It covered family living situation, school performance, symptoms of ADHD, conduct disorder (CD), and oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD), and other features of ADHD.

    RESULTS:

    The prevalence of ADHD in France is between 3.5% and 5.6%. The population prevalence of treatment for ADHD is 3.5%. ADHD youth are more likely to be men than women, and, compared to non-ADHD children, ADHD children are more likely to have CD and ODD. Having ADHD is associated with a family history of the disorder. The ADHD youth are more likely to have had learning difficulties, to have repeated a grade, and to be functioning academically below grade level.
    The epidemiology of ADHD in French children is similar to the epidemiology of ADHD in other countries. The disorder occurs in between 3.5% to 5.6% of youth and is more common among boys than among girls.

  • This argument makes no sense. If I take ADHD medicine it will not affect me the way it affects him because I do not have ADHD. If it didn’t affect you, maybe you were one of the people who WERE misdiagnosed. HE says his brain is calmer and he feels better when taking it. Right now he is off it and I am trying everything I can find to keep it that way but it may not be possible.

  • I believe you have your facts wrong. It’s not 1 in 1000 that are diagnosed ADHD it is 1 in 1,000 that are medicated. The diagnosis rate is about 8.5% which is only slightly lower than in America. Also, please note that the Finnish DO believe that ADHD exists.
    From the UCLA article.
    The study started in 1986, when researchers from Imperial College, London, and Finland’s University of Oulu began studying 9,432 children in northern Finland. They tracked the children from the early fetal period to adolescence (age 16 to 18). UCLA researchers then joined in the effort to examine the adolescents for ADHD behaviors, using a standard screening survey and diagnostic criteria. Among the 6,622 respondents to the survey, a subset of 457 likely cases and controls were evaluated for ADHD and other psychiatric disorders. The estimated prevalence of ADHD among these adolescents was 8.5 percent, with a male-female ratio of 5.7 to 1.
    If we had the social network they had we might be able to avoid medicine also. I’m curious about their long term studies showing how the medicated versus non-medicated children fare.

    In addition to Smalley, UCLA researchers involved in the study included Lorie A. Humphrey, Sandra K. Loo, James T. McCracken, James J. McGough and Stanley F. Nelson.

    Funding was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Juselius Foundation in Finland and the Academy of Finland.

  • Also, when I said he reads better than most college students I was not implying that he is reading books at that level. He loves books on Star Wars, Legos, Mega Man and Captain Underpants. I still read to him and explain concepts and words he doesn’t understand. He read the forst four Harry Potters but I think that was a little early so he’s saving the last books till he’s ready.

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3000907/

    There are ADHD symptoms described by doctors going back at least 200 years.

    Sir Alexander Crichton (1763-1856) wrote of children from an early age having “The incapacity of attending with a necessary degree of constancy to one object”. He writes that this affects their schooling significantly but they are able to learn some things and sometimes this problem fades with age.

  • Wow. How sad that you only want to hear from people that agree with you. And Steven, the “true believer” comment is really horrendous. I have put hundreds of hours of research into this and thousands of hours into my child. I don’t need a perfect child and I don’t even care about his grades. I only need him to be happy and well and not physically hurting anyone.

  • Steve I can finally agree with you on something. We need other training for some kids. The problem in the past was that schools were usually directing minority kids (except Asians) to “shop” classes. They need to bring back shop and mechanic training. America actually has a shortage in some of this. Recently my husband brought home a flier from the City of Los Angeles with a number of job openings from secretarial, clerk, drivers, lawyers and nurses. The highest paid job was for a Heavy Equipment Mechanic starting at over $100,000 a year!!

  • Currently there is an epidemic of Hepatitis C. Now there is a drug that can, in most cases, CURE you in 4-6 weeks. Will you be warning people off that drug too. It is dark ages thinking to believe that only the body can be ill but not the brain. Like fundamentalists who will treat a broken arm because they can “see” it but not give treatment for cancer and let their kids die because it’s not visible to them. Ultimately we may find ADHD is something else. Let me know when you have the scientific proof for that.

  • That is a specious and nonsensical argument. If you don’t have ADHD then the medicine will affect you differently. You probably didn’t have ADHD. I took a similar stimulant medicine (prescribed by a doctor) for weight control when I was in my 20’s. My cousin found me at 2 in the morning standing on the kitchen counter cleaning the ceiling!

  • Thank you for your thoughtful post. I am aware about the issue between giftedness and ADHD. Currently he is off meds and I have become aware that I was giving him the wrong fish oil. I ordered the right one now. We hope to stay off prescription meds but he says his brain feels calmer when he is taking them. It’s awful. Kind of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I have four male relatives who were ADHD and had they been medicated they might have been able to control their impulses and not gone to jail. Better parenting might have helped but we will never know now.

  • A number of people on this website have commented on Finland and other Scandinavian countries and how they treat ADHD. They use less medicine based on their statistics. However, as far as I can tell ALL of these countries believe ADHD exists. My son is currently off meds and I am having his blood tested for iron, magnesium and zinc levels. My son is not physically hyperactive for a 10 year old boy. I am also concerned and investigating whether his gifted attributes are being mistaken for ADHD. He has appts with a neuropsychologist and a neurologist. At this point I am praying it is only ADHD and nothing worse. Remember, AIDS didn’t exist until it did. Ebola didn’t exist until it did. There was no hepatitis C epidemic till there is. Vaccines are bad until there is a measles outbreak. I hope and pray I can find something for my son that doesn’t involve prescription medications. I also found the following interesting.

    “What do you know about ADHD that the following institutions don’t?

    American Medical Association (AMA)
    Canadian Medical Association
    Canadian Psychological Association
    Canadian Psychiatric Association
    Surgeon General of the United States
    National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
    (See the bottom of this page for more details Real Science Defines AD/HD as Real Disorder).

    They all say ADHD exists and is a real condition.

    What research have you done that show’s that all of the organizations above are wrong?”

    Clinical Evidence of the Existence of ADHD as a Real Condition.

    75 international scientists were deeply concerned about the periodic inaccurate portrayal of ADHD in media reports. So they “created this consensus statement on ADHD as a reference on the status of the scientific findings concerning this disorder, its validity, and its adverse impact on the lives of those diagnosed with the disorder as of this writing (January 2002)”

    Here’s one particular quote I like

    “To publish stories that ADHD is a fictitious disorder or merely a conflict between today’s Huckleberry Finns and their caregivers is tantamount to declaring the earth flat, the laws of gravity debatable, and the periodic table in chemistry a fraud.”

    Two anterior regions of the corpus callosum were significantly smaller

    in ADHD boys. MRI scans assessed the frontal circuitry in 18 ADHD boys in comparison to 18 matched controls. They found that two anterior regions of the corpus callosum (the rostrum and the rostral body) were significantly smaller and concluded that this was evidence for frontal lobe dysfunction and abnormal development. The callosal fibres in the rostral body relate to the premotor cortex, which is critical for “the suppression of relatively automatic responses to certain sensory stimuli”. This is consistent with a defect in the person’s ability to inhibit responses, which is considered by Barkley to be the fundamental deficit in ADHD.

    Brain Imaging Data of ADHD. It’s Not Just 3 Neurotransmitters

    Psychiatric Times August 2004 Vol. XXI Issue 9. Amir Raz, Ph.D.

    Neuroimaging assays have most consistently implicated abnormalities of the dorsal prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia in ADHD.

    Reduced metabolic rates have been reported in the left sensorimotor area in children with ADHD and in the premotor and superior prefrontal cortices of adults with ADHD.

    Positron emission tomography data from 10 adolescents with ADHD found reduced metabolic rates versus healthy controls in, among other regions, the left anterior frontal area, showing negative correlation with numerous symptom severity measure.

    Smaller volumes of the right prefrontal cortex have been reported in children with ADHD compared with healthy controls.

    Magnetic resonance imaging data demonstrated smaller right globus pallidus nuclei in boys with ADHD relative to a control group.

    Individuals with ADHD had significantly smaller brain volumes in all regions, even after adjustment for significant covariates. This global difference was reflected in smaller total cerebral volumes and in significantly smaller cerebellar volumes.

    Unmedicated children with ADHD also exhibited smaller total white matter volumes compared with controls and with medicated children with ADHD.

    fMRI studies have reported abnormal activation of the striatum, prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex in ADHD.

    Whereas control participants activated the anterior cingulate cortex, participants with ADHD seemed to rely on the anterior insula–a brain region typically associated with responses in more routine tasks not involving conflict.

    Brain Scans Reveal Physiology of ADHD

    Psychiatric News 2004. New high-resolution, three-dimensional maps of the brains of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder indicate significant and specific anatomical differences within areas of the brain thought to control attentional and inhibitory control systems, compared with brain scans of children without ADHD.

    The images are thought to be the most advanced to date to reveal the anatomical basis of the disorder. Includes two 3d scan photos.

    Cerebral glucose metabolism in adults with ADHD

    The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers measured adults with ADHD with a PET scan. None of the adults had ever been treated with stimulant medication. RESULTS. Global cerebral glucose metabolism was 8.1 percent lower in the adults with hyperactivity than in the normal controls. The largest reductions were in the premotor cortex and the superior prefrontal cortex–areas earlier shown to be involved in the control of attention and motor activity. The largest reductions were in the premotor cortex and the superior prefrontal cortex–areas earlier shown to be involved in the control of attention and motor activity.

    The dopamine theory of ADHD

    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. The dopamine theory of ADHD is supported by neuroimaging, genetic and stimulant medication studies, which confirm an inhibitory dopaminergic effect at striatal/prefrontal level. Anterior and posterior attention systems are involved in inhibition, working memory and orientation. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms and subtypes are likely to reflect deficits in both inhibition and working memory, and may be heterogenous.

  • The Truth About ADHD

    Do you know the current scientific facts about ADHD?

    Post published by Thomas E Brown Ph.D. on Apr 25, 2013 in The Mysteries of ADD
    Over the past 15 years psychologists and neuroscientists have learned a lot about the brain and the disorder called ADHD. These findings have disproven many myths about ADHD, but a lot of this new information has not made its way to the general public, or even some physicians and educators. Discussion about ADHD, in the media and elsewhere, is often still stuck on polarized arguments about whether medications for ADHD are either miracle drugs or deadly poisons. Scientific evidence tends to be ignored. Ask your family or friends these questions about ADHD and see how many they get right:

    1. At what age does ADHD usually show up and does it ever go away?

    2. Why do people with ADHD focus very well on a few things they really like to do, but they can’t focus well on other tasks that they know are important?

    3. Are there any real differences in the development, or operations, of the brain of a person who has ADHD and someone of the same age who doesn’t have it?

    4. What is the “chemical imbalance” that people with ADHD suffer from?

    Below are brief answers to each of these questions; all are based on scientific evidence that is more fully summarized and explained in my latest book, A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults: Executive Function Impairments.(link is external)

    1. For decades, official diagnostic criteria for ADHD required that at least some of the symptoms of ADHD had to be noticeable before age 7. In some cases, symptoms of this disorder show up while the child is in preschool or before. But for many, clear indications of ADHD do not show up until the individual faces the challenges to self-management that arise in high school, college years, or beyond. Studies have shown that cases where there is no evidence of ADHD until early adulthood can be just as serious and impairing as those apparent at a much younger age. Sometimes these problems are corrected as the person gets older and completes school, but sometimes they continue or get worse in adulthood.

    2. Every child or adult with ADHD whom I have ever evaluated has a few favored activities in which they have no difficulties in focusing, sustaining effort, and utilizing working memory. But they do have such difficulties in almost everything else they do. Sometimes their strong focus is in playing sports, making music, repairing cars, or interacting with video games; sometimes it is in other activities. Studies have now shown that a fundamental characteristic of ADHD is that it varies according to the context in which the person is functioning. It’s like erectile dysfunction of the mind. They perform well if the task is something that actually interests them–something that really turns them on– they’re up for it. If it doesn’t turn them on, they cannot get up for it– they cannot adequately perform. This is due to differences in the chemistry of the brain.

    3. Many people notice that all the symptoms of ADHD are problems that everyone has sometimes and that those with ADHD can focus well for activities that interest them. On this basis, they assume that those with ADHD are no different from anyone else except that they are lazy or simply lack “willpower.” Studies have shown that there are measurable differences in the brain development and functioning of those with ADHD in comparison to others of their age. Most of their brain development is similar to that of their peers. However, certain areas of the brain–that are critically important for the brain’s management system–may be delayed in maturation by three or more years. Many also have problems with development of “white matter” fibers that provide interconnections from one region of the brain to another.

    4. The term “chemical imbalance” is often used to explain the impairments of ADHD. This suggests that there are chemicals floating around in the cerebral spinal fluid that are simply not in the right proportions–as if there were too much or too little salt in the soup. Impairments of ADHD are not due to a global excess or lack of a specific chemical within or around the brain. Studies have demonstrated that the primary problem is related to chemicals manufactured, released, and then reloaded at the level of synapses, the trillions of infinitesimal junctions between certain networks of neurons that manage certain critical activities within the brain’s management system. Rapid release and reloading of “micro-dots” of two specific chemicals is necessary for carrying essential low-voltage electrical messages like sparks from a spark plug across the gaps between neurons. For those with ADHD, those chemicals are not adequately released or are too quickly reloaded to carry those messages efficiently across the neurons, unless the task is especially interesting or scary.

    These are just a few of many areas in which popular understanding has not yet caught up with science-based understanding of ADHD.

    Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention & Related Disorders. His most recent book is A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults: Executive Function Impairments. For more information on what psychology and neuroscience have learned about ADHD and the brain, see his website(link is external) or his Facebook page(link is external).

  • Summary:

    New research provides the first direct evidence that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a genetic condition. Scientists in the UK found that children with ADHD were more likely to have small segments of their DNA duplicated or missing than other children.

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    In a new study, children with ADHD were more likely to have small segments of their DNA duplicated or missing than other children.

    Credit: iStockphoto/Zmeel Photography

    [Click to enlarge image]

    New research provides the first direct evidence that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a genetic condition. Scientists at Cardiff University found that children with ADHD were more likely to have small segments of their DNA duplicated or missing than other children.

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    The study also found significant overlap between these segments, known as copy number variants (CNVs), and genetic variants implicated in autism and schizophrenia, proving strong evidence that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder — in other words, that the brains of children with the disorder differ from those of other children.

    The research, published in the journal The Lancet, was largely funded by the Wellcome Trust, with additional support from Action Medical Research, the Medical Research Council and the European Union.

    “We hope that these findings will help overcome the stigma associated with ADHD,” says Professor Anita Thapar. “Too often, people dismiss ADHD as being down to bad parenting or poor diet. As a clinician, it was clear to me that this was unlikely to be the case. Now we can say with confidence that ADHD is a genetic disease and that the brains of children with this condition develop differently to those of other children.”

    ADHD is one of the most common mental health disorders in childhood, affecting around one in 50 children in the UK. Children with ADHD are excessively restless, impulsive and distractible, and experience difficulties at home and in school. Although no cure exists for the condition, symptoms can be reduced by a combination of medication and behavioural therapy.

    The condition is highly heritable — children with ADHD are statistically more likely to also have a parent with the condition and a child with an identical twin with ADHD has a three in four chance of also having the condition. Even so, until now there has been no direct evidence that the condition is genetic and there has been much controversy surrounding its causes, which some people have put down to poor parenting skills or a sugar-rich diet.

    The team at Cardiff University analysed the genomes of 366 children, all of whom had been given a clinical diagnosis of ADHD, against over 1,000 control samples in search of variations in their genetic make-up that were more common in children with the condition.

    “Children with ADHD have a significantly higher rate of missing or duplicated DNA segments compared to other children and we have seen a clear genetic link between these segments and other brain disorders,” explains Dr Nigel Williams. “These findings give us tantalising clues to the changes that can lead to ADHD.”

    The researchers found that rare CNVs were almost twice as common in children with ADHD compared to the control sample — and even higher for children with learning difficulties. CNVs are particularly common in disorders of the brain.

    There was also significant overlap between CNVs identified in children with ADHD and regions of the genome which are known to influence susceptibility to autism and schizophrenia. Whilst these disorders are currently thought to be entirely separate, there is some overlap between ADHD and autism in terms of symptoms and learning difficulties. This new research suggests there may be a shared biological basis to the two conditions.

    The most significant overlap was found at a particular region on chromosome 16 which has been previously implicated in schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorders and spans a number of genes including one known to play a role in the development of the brain .

    “ADHD is not caused by a single genetic change, but is likely caused by a number of genetic changes, including CNVs, interacting with a child’s environment,” explains Dr Kate Langley. “Screening children for the CNVs that we have identified will not help diagnose their condition. We already have very rigorous clinical assessments to do just that.”

    Dr John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, which has supported Professor Thapar’s work for ten years, says: “These findings are testament to the perseverance of Professor Thapar and colleagues to prove the often unfashionable theory that ADHD is a brain disorder with genetic links. Using leading-edge technology, they have begun to shed light on the causes of what is a complex and often distressing disorder for both the children and their families.”

  • This information came from a study in Norway.

    “We have neurobiological research that clearly shows differences among persons with the diagnosis. We know there is high percentage of hereditary connections. We know that specific genes are involved.”

    “So there is distinctly a biological foundation for the diagnosis.”

    Does a clear biological foundation necessarily mean that medication is the answer?

    “No, but medicines represent a solution that is well documented. It works for 70-80 percent of the patients and reduces symptoms.”

    “That said, internationally it’s understood that medication isn’t enough on its own. In Europe we recommend starting with psychosocial measures, accommodations and parental guidance before starting initiating medications.”

    This from Finland:
    “ADHD is a common disorder among adolescents in northern Finland, with an estimated prevalence of 8.5%, consistent with rates of ADHD noted in other studies of adolescents,” Dr. Smalley and colleagues report in the first article, which examined ADHD prevalence. ADHD was 5.7 times more likely to be present in boys than in girls.

    A total of 18.2% of the subjects (3.2 times as many boys than girls) had a lifetime diagnosis of ADHD. Compared with individuals in the control group, the adolescents with a lifetime diagnosis of ADHD had a greatly increased risk of having a disruptive behavioral disorder (odds ratio [OR], 17.3) and an increased risk of having a mood disorder (OR, 2.9) or anxiety (OR, 2.4).

    If we had the social net that these countries have then maybe we could do it without medication. But, note, both of these countries ACCEPT that there is ADHD and that biological evidence of it does exist.

  • Some children are diagnosed simply due to being active and bored and this is a problem, possibly driven by drug companies and lazy parent and teachers but this does not mean that the issue does not exist. Children diagnosed ADHD and NOT medicated are statistically more likely to drop out of school and become dependent on illegal substances. A new article today says they are also TWICE as likely to die prematurely. So, if we decide to medicate we are taking a chance. And we (and you if he actually has ADHD) maybe taking a chance by not medicating. This is the conundrum and it would be helpful if people like you, who want to pass judgement on other dedicated and desperate parents so quickly, would consider that there are things you don’t know or understand and try to be more helpful in a thoughtful way instead of thinking your situation automatically applies to ours.

  • Then what do you suggest to avoid expulsion from school for lack of impulse control. He has been to therapy, behavior camp, anger management. So far he is taking fish oil, vitamins, he eats healthy (fruit, vegetables, limited sugar, whole grains, organic meat, no soda, eliminated artificial dyes) is well loved, has mom and dad at home, is disciplined with time outs, loss of privileges or toys, loves to read, he watches limited shows and only after homework is completed, he has limited game time on the weekend that he gets by earning tickets from the teacher by doing his work in class, he gets exercise, he is gifted (99.4% per the psychologist testing), is in a gifted magnet program, has tons of interests, gets plenty of sleep. I do role playing and bought him lots of books on managing impulsivity. He hates the homework and classwork. He says he’d rather die than do homework. He reads better than most college students.

  • I am so impressed by all the thoughtful responses to this article. Why must he berate so many loving parents who are simply trying to do right by their children. I am sure there are some who drug because it’s easier but most of us do it as a last resort. There are a number of people in my family who would be classified ADHD who were not medicated and most all have self-medicated with drugs and alcohol and 4 of the 5 have been to prison due to crimes driven by drugs and an impulsive nature. Only one did well and she calms her brain with alcohol but still functions productively. What their lives might have been had they been medicated. A new article today states people with ADHD who are not medicated are TWICE as likely to die prematurely, in part due to accidents driven by impulsiveness!!