Common Pain Reliever Linked to ADHD

Study shows acetaminophen is associated with higher risk

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The February 24 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics reports that paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, may be linked to the increased reported cases of ADHD if it was taken during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is very commonly used by (it’s the active ingredient in Tylenol) and considered safe for pregnant women.

The study’s authors cite that more studies of acetaminophen are needed to confirm the findings, but their study showed that women who took acetaminophen while pregnant had a 37% higher risk of having a child who would be later given a medical diagnosis of ADHD compared to women who didn’t take it. Additionally, women who took acetaminophen also had a 29% higher chance of having children who were prescribed ADHD medications later in life. Those children would have a 13% higher chance of exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors by age seven.

These findings should be considered preliminary. In a editorial accompanying the research, JAMA Pediatrics stated, “Findings from this study should be interpreted cautiously and should not change practice. However, they underline the importance of not taking a drug’s safety during pregnancy for granted.”

Study Links Chemicals to ADHD and Autism

Even Harvard now agrees

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Parents, educators, health care professionals, and others are perplexed by the incredible increase in cases of ADHD and autism. A new study performed by Harvard University suggests that toxic chemicals may be to blame. Furthermore, the researchers say the implementation of a global prevention strategy to control the use of toxic substances is urgently needed.

“The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis. They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes,” said Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard School of Public Health.

Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai performed research in 2006 that identified five industrial chemicals as “developmental neurotoxicants.” Developmental neurotoxicants are chemicals that can cause brain deficits. Their latest study updates their previous findings about those chemicals and adds six newly recognized neurotoxicants:

1. Manganese (metal — intellectual function impairment and impaired motor skills)
2. Fluoride (found in toothpaste — decreased IQ)
3. Chlorpyrifos (pesticide — possible cognitive delays)
4. DDT (pesticide — possible cognitive delays)
5. Tetrachloroethylene (solvent — associated with aggressive and hyperactive behaviors)
6. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants often found in clothing and bedding)

Co-author, Dr. Philip Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai, also predicts that many more chemicals will be identified as neurotoxicants in the future. The authors believe these chemicals are part of a “silent pandemic” of neurobehavioral deficits that cause disruptive behaviors, autism, and damage societies as a whole.

The authors propose the formation of a new international watchdog organization to provide mandatory testing of industrial chemicals to evaluate their potential developmental neurotoxicity.

“Very few chemicals have been regulated as a result of developmental neurotoxicity,” they write.

“The problem is international in scope, and the solution must therefore also be international,” said Grandjean, lead study author. “We have the methods in place to test industrial chemicals for harmful effects on children’s brain development—now is the time to make that testing mandatory.”

Stroke Risk and ADHD Meds

Is there a link?

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Black label warnings on ADHD medications range from weight loss, risk of heart complications, to various other maladies. However, according to the American Heart Association, a study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2014 reports that children who take medication to treat ADHD do not appear to be at increased stroke risk.

The study analyzed data of 2.5 million 2- to 19-year-olds over a 14-year period. The researchers compared stimulant medication usage in children diagnosed with ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke to stimulant usage in children without stroke. The researchers found no association between stroke risk and the use of ADHD stimulant medications at the time of stroke or at any time prior to stroke.

Chemical Imbalance Is Probably Not Behind ADHD

Scientists question dopamine’s involvement

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PsychCentral reports of a study performed by Cambridge University that challenges the popular idea that dopamine is the culprit behind ADHD. Dopamine serves as a key neurotransmitter (carries signals between brain cells) that helps regulate cognitive function including the ability to pay attention.

The researchers suggest that ADHD is more likely due to structural brain differences, including reduced brain size. To determine this, the scientists gave Ritalin to some participants while others got a placebo. They were then required to test their ability to pay attention over a period of time.

“While the results show that Ritalin has a ‘therapeutic’ effect to improve performance, it does not appear to be related to fundamental underlying impairments in the dopamine system in ADHD,” said co-author Trevor Robbins, Ph.D., director of the MRC Centre for Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute.

PsychCentral reports that, “The researchers discovered that both the ADHD patients and the controls who were given Ritalin showed similar increases of dopamine in their brain, as well as similar levels of improvement in attention and concentration.”

These results are similar to previous studies which report that the ability to increase attention is attained by almost anyone taking Ritalin. This might account for its vast increase in illicit use among high-school and college students. It also implies that it is used as a shot-gun approach to ADHD therapy rather than a specific drug targeting brain function. The most important finding is that the study suggests there may not be a dysfunction in dopamine regulation in ADHD patients.

Unfortunately, Ritalin is often used to diagnose ADHD. A 20 minute evaluation by a family doctor results in a prescription with an, “If this helps, then it’s ADHD,” approach. We now know that Ritalin likely will have the same effect for most of the people taking it; it will improve their ability to pay attention. Therefore, it is not an effective method to diagnose ADHD.

“These new findings demonstrate that poor performers, including healthy volunteers, were helped by the treatment, and this improvement was related to increases in dopamine in the brain,” said Barbara Sahakian, Ph.D, study lead author.

Play Attention Rocks New Study

Research shows Play Attention to be highly effective

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Once again in a randomized, controlled, long-term clinical study performed by the prestigious Tufts School of Medicine, Play Attention has shown to be highly effective.

The results are published in the Journal of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, this month. Play Attention (NF in the article) was tested in 19 Boston area schools and pitted against cognitive training (brain games) and a control group. Here are the high points from the researchers:

“Parents of children who received NF [Play Attention] training reported significant improvements in attention and executive functioning…Parents of children who received cognitive training (CT) did not report significant improvements compared to those in the control condition.

The parent-reported improvements of participants in the NF [Play Attention] condition on the learning problems subscale might reflect important generalization of skills to the academic setting. It is noteworthy that parents of children in the NF condition did not seek an increase in their children’s stimulant medication dosage, although these children experienced the same physical growth and increased school demands as their CT and control peers.”

It is noteworthy that the researchers found no significant improvement in students who did simple cognitive brain training alone. These students performed worse in many areas and had to increase medication dosages over the period of the study. Play Attention produced the exact opposite effect.

ADHD Isn’t Real

ADHD Isn’t Real
Pediatric neurologist claims ADHD is a sham

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A controversial upcoming book by Pediatric Neurologist, Dr. Richard Saul, is titled, “ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.”

ADD was first appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual(“DSM”) in 1980. Its name was changed to ADHD in 1987 and diagnoses have skyrocketed to reach all time highs. Dr. Saul claims that ADHD shouldn’t even be in the DSM.

“ADHD makes a great excuse,” Saul notes. “The diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch. Moreover, there’s an attractive element to an ADHD diagnosis, especially in adults — it can be exciting to think of oneself as involved in many things at once, rather than stuck in a boring rut.”

Dr. Saul bases his conclusions on his many years of treating patients. He concludes that ADHD is nothing more than a collection of symptoms and not a disease. ADHD is often called a ‘garbage pail’ diagnosis as many different symptoms are often dumped together to make the diagnosis.

Dr. Saul sought out different causes for his patients’ symptoms. He found that by searching deeper into his patients’ specific situations, he could make a proper diagnosis and resolve their problems. For example, Dr. Saul treated a young girl who was unruly in school, but it turned out to be that she couldn’t see the blackboard and only needed glasses. Another example he cites was a 36-year-old man who thought he had ADHD was simply drinking too much coffee and not getting enough sleep.

Dr. Saul lists other causes that are associated with what he considers a wrongful ADHD diagnosis:

Fragile X Syndrome (a genetic mutation linked to mental retardation)
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Learning disabilities
Substance abuse
Poor hearing

Not every case needs to be diagnosed concludes Dr. Saul. For example, Saul treated a female adult who was convinced she had ADHD and who had been prescribed stimulants. Saul realized she was not coping with her life because she was greatly overwhelmed. He simply advised her to return to regular exercise and cut back on her work schedule.

Your opinions are welcomed.

ADHD Meds Linked to Priapism

FDA Warning & Label Change
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Methylphenidate, also marketed as Ritalin, has been noted to cause tics, heart problems, weight loss, and sleep problems. It has now been linked to a rare risk for priapism in males taking the stimulant for the treatment of ADHD according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA disclosed in a press release that the stimulant may in rare instances cause prolonged and sometimes painful erections (priapism). In light of this, the FDA has updated drug labels to alert the public to this rare but serious side effect which may lead to permanent penis damage. The FDA warns (similar to Viagra) that patients who take methylphenidate and develop erections lasting longer than 4 hours should seek immediate medical treatment to prevent long-term problems with the penis.

The FDA also warns that nonstimulant ADHD drugs like atomoxetine (Strattera) have also been associated with priapism in young children, teenagers, and adults. Priapism appears to be more common in patients taking atomoxetine than in patients taking methylphenidate, so one has to cautiously consider atomoxetine products as alternatives to Ritalin.

Should We Be Alarmed by Current ADHD Trends?

A surprising answer from an international expert

We should be alarmed. Very alarmed. This comes from Dr. Keith Conners who has led the fight to legitimize ADHD over the last 50 years. His diagnostic checklists are still used today.

“The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”

Early Risk Factors Between Boys and Girls

New study squashes previous findings
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If you’ve worried that your pregnancy may have caused ADHD in your child, take a breath of relief. A new study of nearly 13,000 ADHD children finds that low-birth weight, fetal distress, and post-term pregnancy are not factors for ADHD.

And although boys are often diagnosed 2 to 1 over girls (often greater), the researchers say that the risk factors were similar between boys and girls.

Published in December’s online issue of Pediatrics, the study finds that ADHD is very heritable; it is often passed genetically.

Oddly, the researchers did find a correlation to to ADHD when a mother had a urinary tract infection during pregnancy. Other correlations were found if the mother was younger, single, or smoked during pregnancy.

ADHD was more prevalent in mothers who had induced labor. This correlation lacked explanation.

Why You Should Be Concerned about ADHD

Academic performance suffers
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# The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports the national average of ADHD children is now 11 percent which grew from 7.8 percent in 2003.

# Some states such as South Carolina have far greater diagnoses and rank among the top five with nearly one out of six children labeled ADHD.

# 50% of young ADHD students repeat a grade.

# 46% get suspended.

# 11% are expelled.

# ADHD students are 8 times more likely to drop out.

What can you do? Be their greatest advocate. They can learn and will learn, but someone has to teach them the skills they need to thrive and succeed.

Play Attention.


ADHD Attention Deficit Training Neurofeedback Tool | Play Attention