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Gluten, Casein Linked to Behavioral Problems in Kids with ADHD

Allergies to gluten and casein -- which have been shown to aggravate behavioral issues in children with ADHD -- appear to be on the rise. These substances are common in a variety of foods and ingredients, including wheat, rye, oats, milk, ice cream and yogurt. The official diagnosis for this type of allergy is "celiac disease."

"Although there is no scientific evidence on the effectiveness of gluten-free and/or casein-free diets, many parents have reported improvement in controlling the behavior and symptoms of their child & by following such a diet," Indianapolis Star correspondent Joanie Fuson reported in a Jan. 20 article.

Celiac disease is an inherited disorder that causes the immune system to attack the small intestine when gluten or casein is consumed. As a result, nutrients arent properly absorbed into the body.

Labels: behavior, allergies, health

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Autistic Kids Not at Risk for Increased Digestive Problems

Although many parents of autistic children try various diets to alleviate their children's symptoms, a new study from the Mayo Clinic finds that autistic children have about the same number of digestive problems as children without the disorder.
  • Dr. Samar Ibrahim and his colleagues compared 121 autistic children to 242 children without the disorder and found very few statistical differences between the two groups in terms of digestive disorders.

  • The children with autism in the study were more likely to be picky eaters or constipated, but they did not have more diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, bloating, acid reflex disorder or vomiting.

  • Many parents of autistic children try nutritional supplements and anti-fungus medications as well as diets that restrict chemical preservatives and colorings, gluten, sugar and other ingredients.
This study appeared in the journal Pediatrics.

Labels: autism, research, health

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Kids Should Get a Heart Test First

The American Heart Association has recommended that children get their hearts tested before taking ADHD stimulant medications like Ritalin.
"Research has indicated that stimulants like Ritalin can raise the heart rate and blood pressure. While these side effects are unimportant for most children with ADHD, they can be relevant for those with a heart condition, the American Heart Association said."
The test, an electrocardiogram, is relatively inexpensive and simple, and can detect heart rhythm abnormalities that could be aggravated by some ADHD medications. Source: Reuters

What do you have planned for your ADHD child this summer? Talisman offers summer camps for children with ADHD at locations across the country.

Labels: medications, health, heart_rate

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Sleep Problems Accompany ADHD

A team from the Centre for Community Child Health in Parkville, Australia, has conducted a study which found a strong correlation between ADHD and sleep problems in children. The team studied 239 schoolchildren with ADHD and their families to determine the prevalence of sleep problems and their effects.
"Sleep problems affected 175 (73.3 percent) of the children, with a 28.5 percent prevalence of mild sleep problems and 44.8 percent prevalence of moderate or severe sleep problems. Some of the most commonly occurring sleep patterns were difficulty falling asleep, resisting going to bed and tiredness on waking."
About half the parents in the study reported that their children had trouble sleeping, felt tired waking up, or had nightmares. Source: PsychCentral

Sleep problems can also lead to inactivity and childhood obesity. Learn more from a blog post at Weight Loss Central.

Labels: health, sleep, nightmares

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Heart Events Rare in Kids on ADHD Drugs

Researchers from the University of Florida have released the results of a study in which they analyzed medical records of 55,000 children under the age of 18, to determine whether ADHD medication increases the risk of serious heart complications. They found that, though higher blood pressure and heart rates were somewhat common, more serious events like cardiac arrest were rare.
"Stimulant use was found to be associated with a 20% increase in visits to hospital ERs or doctors' offices for complaints such as heart palpitations and racing heartbeat, compared with nonuse. But use of the drugs did not appear to be associated with an increase in hospitalizations or deaths due to cardiac causes."
Researchers agree that the results are reassuring, but that a larger study is needed to confirm the safety of ADHD medications.

More and more teens are abusing prescription drugs, leading parents and doctors to wonder how to prevent further teen substance abuse. Visit DrugRehabTreatment.com for more information.

Labels: medications, health, side_effects

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Pediatricians Feel Confident about Diagnosing ADHD

Wake Forest University School of Medicine recently conducted a follow-up study on the ways pediatricians handle behavioral health problems in their patients. The first study was conducted in 2002-03 and focused on "recognition, treatment and referral of children with behavioral health problems."
"ADHD remained the behavioral problem most often diagnosed by the pediatricians, who continued to have a high degree of confidence in treating ADHD with stimulants."
Of the pediatricians surveyed, 83% said they consulted with a mental health colleague concerning patients with mental health issues. Read more at News-Medical.net.

Special programs for non-verbal learning disorder and Aspergers schools are geared to help children get the best education and learn how to deal with their behaviors. Cedars Academy and Talisman Camps offer short and long term schools for children with Asperger's, NLD, and ADHD.

Labels: behavior, health, diagnosis

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Attention Problems Tied to Teen Smoking

Warnings against women smoking during pregnancy aren't new. But researchers have recently discovered that teens who were exposed to nicotine while still in the womb and who also smoke have increased attention problems. A total of 92 adolescents who were exposed to smoke and 89 who were not were tested on their abilities to focus on both auditory and visual cues.
"The study found that teen boys who smoked and were exposed to nicotine in the womb were the most vulnerable, showing significant problems paying attention to things they heard... Those who did not smoke and whose mothers did not smoke while pregnant fared best."
Though nicotine isn't exclusively responsible for causing attention problems, the study shows that it can play a significant role. Read more at Boston.com.

Labels: health, prenatal, smoking

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'Child Safe Playing Fields Act' Becomes Law in NY

Starting in 2011, toxic pesticides will be prohibited in playing fields and other green spaces used by children in New York State. The Child Safe Playing Fields Act received bipartisan support in both the State House and Senate, and will soon be signed into law by Governor Paterson.

“According to a study by the US Environmental Protection Agency, long-term exposure to pesticides may be linked to increased incidences of seizures, asthma, and some cancers. A recent study also suggests a link between pesticides and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).” [Source: Walk 97.5 Radio (Long Island)]

Assemblyman Steven Englebright said he and fellow lawmakers worked for nine years to get the measure passed, and that it was worth the effort. More than 18,000 signatures were collected to show support for the legislation.


 

Labels: safety, health, playtime

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Unusual Behavior Can be Side-Effect of Treatment for Strep Infection

Every year, thousand of yong people get strep infections -- which, when treated with antibiotics, poses little danger to the child. But the antibiotics can, in rare cases can cause the immune system to attack the part of the brain associated with emotion.

“Some doctors suspect that some children who are diagnosed with ADHD or OCD might have PANDAS. Many pediatricians do not know about the disorder.” [Source: KHOU-TV (Houston, TX)]

PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders, and symptoms can include OCD-like behavior, motor or verbal tics, separation anxiety and ADHD-like symptoms. Parents of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD are encouraged to have their children tested for PANDAS, just to be sure.

Labels: medications, health, symptoms

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Study Finds No Long-Term Damage from ADHD Meds

As the number of children diagnosed with ADHD continues to increase, so do concerns over the long-term effects of treating those kids with medication. Now, a study out of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse could ease some of those concerns.

“Dr. Faraone and his colleagues measured and weighed 261 kids with and without ADHD that they had been following for at least ten years. Most of the kids with ADHD had spent at least some of that time on stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall. At the end of the study, there was no difference in the height or weight of the kids – now mostly adults – who had ADHD and those that didn’t.” [Source: Reuters Health]

Researchers also found no relationship between the kids’ heights and weights and the length of time they’d been taking medication.


 

Labels: medications, health

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Study Links ADHD, Hypertension in Youth

A study by the University of Rochester Medical Center has revealed an association between ADHD and hypertension (high blood pressure) among young people.

The following is an excerpt from a Nov. 12 article by Kathy Jones of MedIndia.net Child Health News:

  •  
  • The study involved 201 patients, all of whom had been referred to a pediatric hypertension clinic at URMC's Golisano Children's Hospital
  • 101 of the patients who were studied actually had hypertension, or sustained high blood pressure, determined by 24-hour ambulatory monitoring or monitoring by a school nurse or at home.
  • Overall, 18 percent of the children had learning disabilities, well above the general population's rate of 5 percent.
  • But the percentage among those without hypertension was closer to 9 percent, and among those with hypertension, the rate jumped to 28 percent.
  •  
  • All of the children were between 10- and 18-years-old, and the children's learning disability and ADHD diagnoses were reported by parents.

 

Labels: research, health

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Doctor Disputes Suggestion that Surgery Can Cure ADHD

In a letter to the syndicated health advice columnist Dr. Peter H. Gott, a cosmetic dentist advanced the theory that many children with ADHD are actually suffering from upper airway obstructions -- and that surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids can clear the obstruction and cure the ADHD.

Dr. Gott was not shy in expressing his opposition to this concept:

I believe it is not only unethical, but it is irresponsible to be telling everyone that surgery can cure ADHD. Not all children who have ADHD have a breathing/sleeping disorder. Not all children with both conditions will experience a cure or even improvement from either or both following surgery.

I am not discounting the fact that sleeping and breathing issues are much more common in children with ADHD and vice versa, but I am saying it is too early in the game to be saying this one solution is the end all as far as treatment options are concerned.

Though a study at the University of Michigan appears to show some support for the surgical option, Dr. Gott emphasized that one small study with less-than-decisive results is hardly the foundation upon which to base a wide-ranging recommendation.

"In the end, while some children did improve following surgery, this was a very small test," Dr. Gott wrote. "It also shows that not all children will improve after having surgery (though most did show improvement in their sleeping disorders)."

Labels: dangers, health

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ADHD Impairs Kids' Ability to Turn Off 'Daydreaming Switch'

Research conducted at Britain's University of Nottingham appears to indicate that children with ADHD have an impaired ability to turn off a "daydreaming switch" in their brain. This "daydreaming" function is designed to help the brain pass time when not focused on a particular task -- but the inability to turn this feature off can create significant difficulties when the time comes to take on a tast that demands complete attention.

Richard Alleyne, the science correspondent for The Telegraph, described this research:

Using a video game, researchers compared brain scans of eighteen children with ADHD, aged between nine and 15 years old, against scans of a similar group of children without the condition.

The children with ADHD were tested when they were taking their methylphenidate and when they were off their medication.

By studying the brain scans, the researchers were able to show that typically developing children switched off their DMN network whenever they saw an item requiring their attention.

However, unless the incentive was high, or they had taken their medication, the children with ADHD would fail to switch off the DMN and would perform poorly.

Dr Martin Batty, co-author of the study, said: "Using brain imaging, we have been able to see inside the children's heads and observe what it is about ADHD that is stopping them concentrating.

The team's findings were published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Labels: brain_activity, health, brain_chemistry

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