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ADHD Research Clinic Issues Call for Study Subjects

The University of Central Florida's Children's Learning Clinic is looking for parents who are willing to have their children evaluated as part of a research effort into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The program's website provides the following details:
The Children's Learning Clinic-IV (CLC) offers free comprehensive assessments for children ages 8-12. Parents with children who may be experiencing difficulties with attention, learning, memory, and concentration are encouraged to contact us (including those previously diagnosed with or suspected of having ADHD).

The CLC-IV also provides free evaluations for typically developing children. Evaluations consist of a thorough historical information, diagnostic interview, parent and teacher ratings, full scale intelligence testing, academic achievement testing, objective measurement of activity level, as well as measures of learning and memory.

Parents who are interested in obtaining a free comprehensive assessment and evaluation for their child are encouraged to contact us at (407) 823-5773.
The Children's Learning Clinic is led by Dr. Mark Rapport, a professor and researcher who, the CLC website reports, "is particularly interested in children with [ADHD], developing conceptual models related to long-term outcome (e.g., scholastic success), and understanding the primary deficits associated with ADHD."

Labels: research, Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder

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Attention Problems in Kindergarten Could Hint at Later Academic Troubles

A new study has found that attention problems which begin in kindergarten can cause academic struggles through high school. The study is based on behavioral and academic information collected on nearly 700 children.
Compared with other childhood psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and disruptive behavior ... attention problems -- including symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- had the strongest impact on a child's future academic success. -- Source: WAVE 3 News (Louisville, KY)
Researchers are hoping the study's results will compel school administrators and parents to be more proactive in identifying attention issues in younger students, and developing programs to meet their specific learning needs.

Students whose attention problems and learning disabilities are not properly addressed in their younger years may benefit from enrolling in a private boarding school such as Cedars Academy, where they will receive comprehensive academic support and behavioral guidance, as well as the structure and supervision they need to achieve success in school and prepare for a more fulfilling future.

Labels: Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, academics

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Small Study Says Some Kids Can Overcome Autism

A small study that was funded by the National Institute of Health indicates that between 10 and 20 percent of children with autism can recover from it.

Dr. Deborah Fein of the University of Connecticut studied 20 children who had been diagnosed with autism before age five years, but who no longer met the criteria by age seven or so.
  • The children tended to have above-average IQs and suffered only mild symptoms when diagnosed.
  • They recovered by undergoing intensive behavioral therapy that took between thirty and forty hours per week.
  • About three-fourths of them still had other problems such as nervous tics, attention deficit disorder, and phobias.
Dr. Fein and her colleagues will perform MRIs on the children who recovered to determine if physical changes occurred in their brains.

Previous studies found that between three and 25 percent of autistic kids can recover. However, Dr. Fein cautioned that recovery is "not a realistic expectation for the majority of kids."

During the upcoming summer months, children with Asperger Syndrome, high-fuctioning autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, learning disabilities, and related conditions may benefit from attending a summer camp for exceptional children.

Labels: autism, studies

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NIMH Study Says Kids Won't Outgrow ADHD Symptoms

An eight-year study of children with Attention Deficit Disorder Hyperactivity Disorder found that children do not outgrow their symptoms even after receiving treatment.

The authors of the study, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (and which appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), concluded that this may mean that people who have ADHD during childhood should continue to take medication for the disorder even as adults.

The study's 579 subjects were between the ages of 7 and 9 years old at the beginning of the study. For a 14-month period, the children underwent one of four treatment types (medication alone, behavioral therapy alone, or combinations of the two). The combination treatment worked the best to mitigate symptoms.

The researchers checked the children two, three, six, and eight years later. By the time they were in late adolescence, many of them had stopped taking medications for their ADHD symptoms, and these symptoms had returned.

As the summer months approach, experts advise parents not to make changes to their children's ADHD meds, or to allow their children to take a "medication vacation," especially if the children will be attending an ADHD summer camp or other organized seasonal activity.

Labels: medications, Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, symptoms

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Ginseng May Alleviate Some ADHD Symptoms

A small study that was published in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of Dietary Supplements indicates that Panax ginseng may be able to alleviate some symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

"Although the sample size is very small [three youth between the ages of 14 and 17] and generalization is very difficult, this observation indicates that Panax ginseng may be a slightly effective treatment for ADHD," the study's author, H. Niederhofer, reported in the abstract of the study. Niederhofer is affiliated with Regional Hospital Bozen in Bolzano, Italy

In a May 19 article on the about.com Alternative Medicine Blog, Cathy Wong reported that previous studies into Panax ginseng indicate that the herb may help boost immunity, improve mood, and control diabetes. "Another form of the herb (American ginseng) has been found to benefit children with ADHD when combined with ginkgo biloba," Wong wrote.

With summer approaching, most ADHD experts advise parents not to change their child's meds or allow them to take a "medication vacation," especially if the child will be attending a summer camp for kids with ADHD or other type of seasonal program.

Labels: medications, Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, herbs

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MRIs Find Brain Abnormalities in Autistic Kids

Toddlers with autism show enlarged amygdala, a portion of the brain that processes faces and emotions, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Matthew Mosconi and his colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to scan the brains of 50 children with autistic spectrum disorders and 30 children without the the disorders. All the children were between the ages of two and four.

"Alterations of the amygdala may be associated with the core deficits of autism," Dr. Mosconi said in the May issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

Labels: autism, research

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Excessive TV Watching by Boys Linked to Later-Life Depression

Watching excessive amounts of television in early adolescence may lead to depression in early adulthood for males, according to a study that appeared in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Dr. Brian Primack surveyed 4,100 healthy young people when they were about 14 years to gauge their TV watching habits, and found that the average exposure was about 2.3 hours per day. Boys who watched the most television when they were 14 years old were more likely to be among the seven percent who developed depression at age 21 years. The effect did not hold true for girls.

Dr. Primack said television watching interrupts sleep, and sends messages to males to become more aggressive. TV may also interfere with the development of male identity, he said.

As is also the case with depression in adults, teen depression has been associated with a wide range of other problems, including substance abuse and suicide.

Labels: depression, boys, tv_watching

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High IQ Doesn't Diminish Effects of ADHD

Yale researchers have found that having a high IQ doesn't diminish the effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
"About three of four ADHD individuals with an IQ of more than 120 -- a score that ranks them in the top nine percent of the U.S. population -- showed significant impairments in memory and cognitive tests when compared to people with similar IQs who do not suffer from the disorder, according to the researchers." (Source: Health News Digest)
The high-IQ ADHD group that was studied lack similar self-management skills and had the same tendency to procrastinate. For many students who exhibit these challenges, enrolling in a private boarding school for ADHD students provides them with the support and guidance they need to achieve academic success and experience enhanced social and developmental progress.

The full report from the Yale study will appear in the September print edition of the Journal of Attention Disorders.

Labels: Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, studies, IQ

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Kids' Use of ADHD Meds Requires Consistent Parental Oversight

Nathan Herring is an adult who was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in third grade. He was put on Ritalin, and says it helped him focus and behave better at home. Even with positive stories like this, though, some parents are hesitant about putting their children on ADHD medication. Jean Enerson of King 5 News in Seattle, Washington, addressed this topic in a May 10 segment:
[Dr. Chris Varley] says a child on ADHD medication should stick with it for a year to see if it helps. Be sure your child's doctor tells you about side effects ...

"You should be measuring on a regular basis their height and weight, and you also should be measuring, probably as importantly, their pulse and blood pressure," said Dr. Varley.
Dr. Varley offered these cautions in response to studies that have found long-term use of ADHD medication can affect height and weight, and may exacerbate heart conditions.

There are no clear "one-size-fits-all" answers about whether or not a child should use prescription medication, and parents are encouraged to consult with a variety of experts to ensure that they have all necessary information to make informed decisions about their children's use of ADHD medications.

Labels: medications, Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, long_term_effects

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Australian Students Stealing, Abusing ADHD Meds

An Australian newspaper has reported that high school and university students in that country are stealing ADHD medications from younger siblings because of a mistaken belief that the stolen ADHD meds will help them perform better in school.

According to a May 12 article by Daily Telegraph writers Kate Sikora and Janet Fife-Yeomans, Australian health care experts are warning that the illicit use trend -- which they say originated in the United States -- can pose significant health risks:
The "sporadic phenomenon" is concerning doctors and teachers, who have warned students they are placing themselves in danger. ...

The misuse of ADHD medication comes as the manufacturers of the three longer-lasting methylphenidate drugs, marketed as Concerta, have recently added a "black box" warning of sudden death for adult users.

It warned that stroke and myocardial infarction had been reported in adults taking ADHD drugs.
The misuse of ADHD medications and other prescription drugs has been on the rise in recent years, with many young people needing residential substance abuse treatment in order to escape their dependence upon these dangerous drugs.

Labels: medications, prescription_drugs

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Prof Publishes Advice for Adderall Abusers

Lawrence Diller, a member of the clinical faculty at the University of California-San Francisco, thinks that college students who are misusing the prescription drug Adderall need some guidance. The medication is designed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but it often gets used by stressed out students who need a little extra "boost" when studying for exams or finishing projects.
Adderalls most consistent effect is to give users the sense that they are doing better in their tasks ... Therefore, they perform at least a little better in reality, yet not as well as they think

If youre doing Adderall on a regular basis to cope, you may soon also need another drug. Perhaps it will be Xanax ... If youre using Adderall to get high, you are running the same risks of getting truly caught up with one of the worst drug addictions possible.
Source: The Crimson (Harvard Newspaper)
Diller goes on to suggest that students who are engaging in Adderall abuse in order to cope with their collegiate workload may be better off re-evaluating their goals and career path. If the track theyre currently on is too much for them to handle with normal coping mechanisms, they may benefit from pursuing a different educational path.

Labels: medications, adderall, college, abuse

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Classroom Changes Can Help Students with ADHD

They dont mean to be, but children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be trouble in the classroom. Their disorder causes them to be occasionally disruptive and often forgetful -- but there are ways to help:
If possible, seat the child with ADHD in the front of the classroom to minimize distractions. Consider playing soothing music during test or classwork time. It can sometimes help a child to tune out distractions if there is some type of music. (Source: ADHD Central)
Keeping class time structured will help as well, along with clear and concise classroom rules. Simple instructions will be easier for ADHD students to follow, and clear expectations will help them understand how to behave.

Labels: students, Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, classrooms

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ADHD Students Face Unique Challenges in College

Many families endure years of struggles and setbacks before finally finding the right levels of support, guidance, and medications that allow children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to achieve academic success. But, as an April 14 article by New York Times columnist Tara Parker-Pope indicates, when those children head off to college, that track record of success will likely be put to the test:
For a teenager struggling to stay organized, the unusual class schedules, hourlong lectures, late-night study sessions and disrupted sleep routines of college can be a nightmare. Studies suggest that college students with A.D.H.D. are at greater risk for academic and psychological difficulties, and have lower grade-point averages, than peers without the problem. ...

When [students with ADHD] come to college without the external supports of parents and teachers to keep them organized and on task, oftentimes they struggle mightily to get everything done that they need to get done, [Dr. Mark H. Thomas of the University of Alabama student health center] says. Even those kids who have done relatively well in high school still struggle.
To help prepare for the challenges that ADHD students will face in college, Parker-Pope's article advised parents to evaluate the level of services that are offered at the university and consult with a physician to determine if medication changes are called for.

Labels: college, Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, support

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Researchers Find Link Between ADHD, Sleep Disorders

A Taiwanese study that appears in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep has established an association between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and sleep disorders. According to a May 1 article on the HealthDay News website, the researchers found the sleep disorder-ADHD connection even in children whose attention problems were relatively moderate:
The study of 281 children, aged 10 to 17, who had been diagnosed with ADHD, found that regardless of the severity of that condition, they were two to three times more likely to have short-term or lifetime issues with insomnia or nightmares than peers without ADHD. They were also more likely to experience night terrors, teeth grinding and snoring.

Treating the sleep disorder may help ease ADHD, as the conditions tend to share symptoms, say the investigators. ... In fact, lack of sleep can cause problems with attention span, behavior and performance -- hallmarks of ADHD.
A press release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported that sleep disorders in children with ADHD could be the result of several factors, including Internet addiction, stimulant abuse, hyperactivity, or the presence of co-occurring psychiatric disorders.

Labels: sleep, Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder

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Studies Encourage Outside Activity for Kids with ADHD

Recent studies have found that mom was right to send the kids outside to play. In turns out that outdoor activity helps young people who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
"In fact," says University of Illinois Professor Frances Kuo, "being in relatively natural outdoor places, like a neighbourhood [sic] park, or a grassy field, or a tree-lined park is especially good for symptoms. ... Its a great way to spend time together, teaching kids about the beauty of the natural environment ..." Source: Nanton News (Alberta, Canada)
Parents who are looking for creative ways to get their children outside may consider having a picnic in a local park, plant a tree together in the backyard, cultivating a family vegetable garden, taking regular after-dinner walks, or even picking up litter in a nearby park (which can also instill an appreciation for the value of community service).

Labels: Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder, exercise

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