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LazyBrains Can Help with Attention and Focus

A headband-looking device that records levels of brain activity was originally developed by Drexel University to monitor patients under anesthesia. But it now serves a dual purpose, also being used in a new video game called LazyBrains.
"LazyBrains features Morby, a couch potato transported to a dangerous fantasy world as punishment for not exercising his brain. Morby must use his mental power to navigate through obstacles to find his way back home."
Players use a keyboard to make Morby run and jump, but actions like lifting can only be done using the headband. The game responds when it senses that enough brain power is being exerted. The innovative game was a collaborative effort between the university's computer science department and the college of engineering. Source: PsychOrg.com

Labels: tree

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Support Group Meets Thursday

Those living in or around Egan, Minn., may benefit from an ADHD support group that's meeting Thursday, August 21st at Trinity Evangelical Free Church.
"This quarterly support group provides encouragement, support and information parents can put into practice to help their child. Learn how to seek help, what questions to ask, how other parents are dealing with it and what can be done in the home and school environments."
There is no cost to attend, and the meeting features two young adults who will share their experiences of growing up with ADHD. Source: AM980 KKMS

Labels: parents, support groups, meetings

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Mom Starts Awareness Event

Lynda Kovalcheck's son has autism. Because of his disability, even a simple trip to the grocery store can become a major event if something causes a meltdown. The disapproving and judging stares from others are enough to cause Kovalcheck to want to stay at home.
"But Kovalcheck doesn't think her son should have to stay at home just because he's misunderstood. So she came up with a solution: She's made it her mission to make sure more people understand families with disabilities."
She's putting her mission into practice by helping organize a Disability Awareness Night at the Merced Civic Center in Merced, California. The six moms who organized the event have kids with various disabilities, from autism to ADHD. They will share their stories in hopes of raising both awareness and empathy. Source: Merced Sun-Star

Labels: autism, awareness, disabilities

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ADD/ADHD Week Launched

New Zealand is observing an ADD/ADHD Awareness Week which began today.
"'For many children, young people and families, the issues around ADD/ADHD are normal family and parenting issues but manifested in a more intense form,' said [Ruth] Dyson. 'Parents respond to this by engaging in support services, parenting courses, counseling and alternative treatments in addition to or instead of healthcare interventions.'"
Events and seminars are planned throughout the week and will include pediatricians, doctors, counselors, and more. Source: Independent News

Labels: parents, awareness, families

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ADHD Children at Greater Risk of Being Overweight

Researchers from Brown Medical School analyzed data from more than 62,000 children to determine if there were any connections between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and being overweight or childhood obesity. They found that the greatest risk exists among children whose ADHD was not being treated.
"...ADHD patients who were not being treated with medication were 1.5 times more likely to be overweight than children without the disorder. The risk for ADHD among those who were currently receiving medications was only about 0.5 times higher."
Researchers speculate that the poor behavioral regulation and impulsivity that accompany ADHD are the most likely contributors to subsequent health issues. The study's results emphasize the importance of having ADHD properly diagnosed and treated. Source: Reuters

Labels: dual_diagnosis, overweight, childhood_obesity

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Groups Clash on Heart Tests for Youth on ADHD Meds

The American Academy of Pediatrics has renewed the debate over heart tests for kids on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medication by announcing a new policy that most kids don't need a special cardiac screening.
"The pediatricians' group says advice earlier this year from the American Heart Association recommending EKGs was overzealous because these rare deaths are more common in the general population than among children on stimulants."
Approximately four million U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and about half of these children are being treated with stimulant medication. The academy agrees that children should get a thorough physical exam and their family history should be checked for heart problems, but feels EKGs are unnecessary in most cases. Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Labels: pediatricians, heart_test, stimulants

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Why is ADHD Treated with Stimulants?

One of the most common treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is stimulant medication. But it seems counterproductive to treat hyperactivity symptoms with stimulants, so why do they work?
"In all of our brains, there is a portion that deals with matters of impulse suppression and control. It is this center that gives us the ability to focus on things that don't interest us... to be patient... and to remember... But for those with ADHD, there is, for some reason, a shortage of electrical activity in these portions of the brain."
Stimulant medication works because it increases activity in the part of the brain that controls impulses, helping someone with ADHD to focus, becoming less fidgety and more patient. Source: Associated Content

Labels: medications, treatment, stimulants

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CDC Estimates 5% of Kids Have ADHD

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that about 5 percent of U.S. children have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It also found an increase of about 3 percent in annual diagnoses between 1997 and 2006.
"ADHD diagnoses were twice as common among boys as girls. ADHD was also more common among adolescents and teens than younger kids, among whites or African-American children than among Hispanic children, and among kids covered by Medicaid than uninsured or privately insured kids."
The CDC report also acknowledged that social and economic factors may affect a child's likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD. Source: MedicineNet

Labels: diagnosis, CDC

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ADHD Increasingly Common in Older Children

In a study that drew results from surveys of close to 40,000 U.S. households, government researchers found that an increasing number of older children are being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The study showed no change for younger children.
"Some experts say the increase may reflect that doctors are increasingly considering the possibility of ADHD in older kids who have concentration problems - a trend that coincides with the marketing of ADHD medications to teens and adults."
The surveys were conducted annually between 1997 and 2006 via door-to-door canvassing of selected U.S. neighborhoods. Source: The Daily Gleaner

Labels: concentration, diagnosis, older_children

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Olympic Swimmer Found Focus in Water

When he was a child, Michael Phelps spent a lot of time poolside, next to the lifeguard station - not because he was interested in swimming, but because he was so disruptive. An elementary school student told his mom that his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder would prevent him from ever focusing on anything.
"His mom disagreed. She had seen him at swim meets. 'He might be rocking on the kickboard as he's waiting to swim,' she told the teacher, 'but he knows what he wants to do.'"
Phelps' ability to focus during competition seems contradictory for someone who took Ritalin as a child, but his passion to win gives him all the focus he needs. At the upcoming Olympics, Phelps will compete in eight events, and is aiming to beat Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals. Source: USA Today

Labels: focus, benefits, role_models

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Free Guide to Alternative ADHD Treatment Plans

ADDitude magazine, the leading publication for families and adults who have been affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, recently released a report on non-medical options for treating ADHD symptoms.
"Top ADHD doctors and treatment specialists contributed to the free ADDitude Guide to Alternative ADHD Treatment, which investigates and clearly explains the benefits and risks of natural ADHD therapies like fish oil."
The free guide includes tips for behavior therapy, diet and exercise changes, and the use of supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids. Source: LifeWithADHD.com.

Labels: parenting, treatment, support

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Adolescent Girls with ADHD at Increased Risk for Eating Disorders

A study conducted by the University of Virginia found that adolescent girls with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have a higher risk of developing body-image issues that can lead to binging and purging than their non-ADHD peers. Of the 228 girls who were evaluated, 140 had been diagnosed with ADHD, and 88 had not.
"Girls with ADHD may be more at risk of developing eating problems as adolescents because they already have impulsive behaviors that can set them apart from their peers,' [lead author Amori Yee] Mikami said. 'As they get older, their impulsivity may make it difficult for them to maintain healthy eating and a healthy weight, resulting in self-consciousness about their body image and the binging and purging symptoms.'"
Girls with the "combined type" of ADHD (having both inattention and hyperactivity) were most likely to develop bulimia nervosa symptoms. They were also more likely to be overweight, to have experienced harsh or critical parenting, and to have been rejected by their peers. Source: ScienceDaily

Get more information at Eating Disorders Help Guide >>

Labels: eating_disorders, girls_with_adhd, body_image_issues

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Innovative Program Improves Care for Children with ADHD

Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have implemented an experimental program aimed at helping primary care physicians better diagnose and treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children. The program is centered on the standardized evidence-based diagnosis and treatment guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
"The intervention consisted of an innovative training program developed by Cincinnati Children's on how to implement AAP diagnosis and treatment guidelines. The training focused on modifying office systems to accommodate the AAP guidelines."
Eighty-four Cincinnati-based physicians participated in the program, which resulted in a nearly 50 percent increase in the use of parent and teacher ADHD rating scales and a 35 percent increase in systematic monitoring of patient medication. Source: Huliq.com

Labels: treatment, diagnosis, health_care

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Teachers May Overestimate ADHD

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the United Kingdom recently reviewed referrals and outcomes of children who were referred by teachers for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder observation. The study was designed to determine the accuracy of teacher-based ADHD identification.
"Between November 2006 and October 2007, 52 children were referred to CAMHS with ADHD-like symptoms. Enough concern was raised of 14 children to warrant school observation. Of these, only five were diagnosed with ADHD..."
Researchers are unsure why ADHD is being overestimated by teachers, but suggested that more resources be made available to enable teachers to more accurately identify the symptoms related to the disorder. Source: PsychCentral

Labels: teachers, diagnosis, classrooms

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Amino Acid May Help with ADHD

Researchers in British Columbia are studying the effectiveness of supplements based on the nutrient L-theanine. An amino acid that is found almost exclusively in tea plants, L-theanine promotes a sense of "calm alertness," and is used in Japan as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The tea can be hard to find in the United States.
"Though the final study is not out yet, [Dr. Michael Lyon] has been seeing good results. 'These disorderly, edgy, impulsive kids that can't pay attention for a few seconds. Put them on a couple hundred milligrams two or three times a day. Kids will calm down, they'll sleep better. They'll start to be more focused, they won't be so anxious,' he said."
Some parents have begun giving their children theanine supplements in place of other ADHD medications - though health care experts emphasize that this type of change should only be undertaken after consulting with a pediatrician. Source: CBN News

Labels: alternative_medicine, diet, supplements

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Casual Games May Help with Concentration

A survey conducted by Information Solutions Group found that puzzle games like Tetris or Bejeweled can help improve concentration and promote stress relief and relaxation in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Eighty-three percent of the 220 children who responded to the survey said they felt the games helped improve their concentration.
"It seems that children with AD/HD often lack that sense of control that comes much more easily to their non-AD/HD peers,' says Dr. Carl Arinoldo. 'Playing casual games such as Peggle and Bejeweled, among others, is one area in their lives in which these children can experience some sense of control with the added benefit of achieving success in something."
Though experts advise parents not to allow their children to spend excessive amounts of time playing video games, the survey indicates that limited exposure can be beneficial. Source: Game Daily

Labels: concentration, memory, games

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