by Sir Ken Robinson
Watch the video: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms
A new book finds a startling connection
Read the Interview: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/could-school-testing-be-driving-adhd-n55661
Is the increased demand for performance behind the increased diagnoses of ADHD? Two University of California professors have released a book this month titled, “The ADHD Explosion.” They call it a “reality check” for parents, providers, educators and politicians.
The Berkeley professors, Dr. Stephen Hinshaw and Dr. Richard Scheffler, are noted researchers on ADHD. Their research tells them that federal policy issues may be behind the recent explosion in cases of ADHD.
“When you look at that [national testing policy], you get the
closest thing there is to a smoking gun,” says Dr.Scheffler.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, found that rates of ADHD in California have jumped by 24% since 2001. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports increases from 7.8 percent in 2003 to
9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011— a rate of 5 percent a year.
It looks for all the world like a growing epidemic. But ADHD wasn’t even something people noticed until recently,” says Hinshaw.
“It started about the same time in history that we made kids go to school,” Hinshaw told NBC News in an interview.
Then come the 1990s, and a crisis of falling test scores. “What happened is that a number of states began to pass accountability laws,” Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw and Scheffler examined the correlation between diagnoses of ADHD and maps of states that had passed accountability laws.
According to NBC News, by the turn of the century, 30 states had passed accountability laws. They tended to be Republican-leaning states in the South, such as North Carolina. In 2007, 15.6 percent of all children in North Carolina had been diagnosed with ADHD at some point, including nearly one in three teenage boys.
Two things happening together don’t prove a correlation. Is it coincidence? Hinshaw and Scheffler were persuaded to look further.
AN NBC News article reports that the professors then examined date related to the No Child Left Behind federal policy enacted in 2002. It was one of the first official acts of President George W. Bush after he took office.NCLB required standardized testing to show if schools were, in fact, educating students. A truly salient aspect of NCLB was that it held teachers and principals directly responsible for the results and removed federal and state bureaucrats who mandate curriculum and educational policy.
According to the NBC News article:
“Now what happens is a natural experiment,” says Hinshaw. The other states raced to write accountability laws, requiring schools to show they are actually educating children.
“When you incentivize test scores above all else, there is probably pressure to get kids diagnosed with ADHD.”
Hinshaw and Scheffler compared ADHD rates in the 30 states that had been requiring testing with the 20 states that had to play catchup.
Rates of ADHD diagnoses soared.
“Children ages 8 to 13, living in low-income homes and in states without previous consequential accountability laws, went from a 10 percent to a 15.3 percent rate of ADHD diagnoses once No Child Left Behind started,” they wrote. That’s a 53 percent increase over four years.
California’s current rate, post-testing? It’s 7.3 percent. North
Carolina’s rate actually fell slightly, to 14.4 percent in 2011.
“When you incentivize test scores above all else, there is probably pressure to get kids diagnosed with ADHD,” Hinshaw said. “We know from our own research that medication not only makes you less fidgety but also can bump up your test scores.”
That would be the benign interpretation, that testing has
encouraged parents to get their kids in to see specialists for
much-needed medical care. But there’s also a more sinister
possibility and one that Hinshaw and Scheffler say is at work in
“If you can identify the children with ADHD, you can take them out of the pool that measures how schools are doing,” says Scheffler.
He says some districts — he won’t say where — do seem to have been doing so. State school officials and the federal Department of Education did not respond when contacted by NBC News.
No Child Left Behind ties federal funding to test scores, Scheffler points out.“You can see the incentive for schools to get kids diagnosed with ADHD,” he says.
Either way, Scheffler and Hinshaw say the increase in ADHD cases is real, and it’s not just affecting kids. Recent studies show adult diagnoses are on the rise, too.
“Although often ridiculed, ADHD represents a genuine medical
condition that robs people of major life chances,” they write in the book.
“You can see the incentive for schools to get kids diagnosed with ADHD.”
Scheffler doesn’t see the increase in adult ADHD diagnoses as
surprising. “This has nothing to do with the schools. This has to do with global competition and performance,” he says. People are under pressure to perform better at work.
And news about adult ADHD in turn sends more people to their doctors, and diagnoses spike even more, Hinshaw adds. “Here are we are in 2014 with evidence that medications can benefit. Adult ADHD clinics spring up,” he says.
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” says Hinshaw.
What is bad is if ADHD is not being diagnosed with the proper care, Hinshaw says. A 10-minute pediatrician visit is not adequate for an ADHD diagnosis and certainly not as the basis for writing a prescription for a powerful stimulant, such as Ritalin or Adderall, to treat it.
“Many pediatricians are not trained in the emotional disorders of childhood, or not reimbursed for the time it takes,” Hinshaw said.
“It is easy to pull out prescription pad at the end of a visit.”
He calls the book a “reality check” and says parents, providers, educators and politicians should take note, and make sure the right kids are being diagnosed, and helped, properly.
Could ADHD make your teen fat?
Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/10/adhd-increase-risk-of-obesity_n_4921150.html
In new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 7,000 children in Finland were studied to determine whether ADHD symptoms at age eight were linked to greater chances of being obese by age 16.
The results showed that children who had ADHD symptoms at a young age were nearly twice as likely to be obese as teens. This was true even after taking into account childhood weight.
“In general, people think of children with hyperactivity as moving around a lot and therefore should be slim,” senior author Alina Rodriguez said. However, “Children with ADHD are not more likely to participate in physical activity, as we show in our report.”
Previous studies have demonstrated a link between obesity and ADHD, yet the exact cause remains undetermined.
Children today often spend a lot of time indoors and in front of a screen whether it’s TV phone, or computer. Research has shown that the greater the time spent in front a screen, the greater likelihood the child will be obese and have decreased academic performance.
Secondly, ADHD children often lack social skills and by middle school, this becomes readily apparent. They tend to isolate themselves from other children who may ridicule them. Impulse control and lack of social skills may keep them away from team sports. So it’s important to help them select an activity that they can excel in. Individual sports like martial arts, swimming, or tennis can be great avenues to physical fitness and better self-esteem.
Study shows acetaminophen is associated with higher risk
Read More: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/24/acetaminophen-use-during-pregnancy-tied-to-adhd-behavioral-problems-in-children/
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.”
Even Harvard now agrees
Read more: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/harvard-study-links-chemicals-to-autism-adhd-dyslexia-021714.html
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.”
Is there a link?
Read More: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212183652.htm,
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.
Scientists question dopamine’s involvement
Read More: http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/11/02/chemical-imbalance-is-probably-not-behind-adhd/61512.html
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.
Research shows Play Attention to be highly effective
To read more: http://www.playattention.com/clinical-studies/
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
Pediatric neurologist claims ADHD is a sham
Read More: http://www.examiner.com/article/pediatric-neurologist-richard-saul-claims-adhd-does-not-exist-upcoming-book
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
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.