Friday, September 30, 2005

Don't Confuse Sleepless Nights With ADHD!

According to various studies, some symptoms that characterize ADHD often overlap with the types of problems that occur due to lack of sleep. Although doctors can usually separate the two, mood and behavior changes caused by lack of sleep might sometimes be mistaken for ADHD.

Dr. Owens, a pediatrician at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, feels that "In the back of everyone's mind should be whether these symptoms are related to sleep problems." He gives a few tips on how to tell if it's a sleep disorder. First, sleeping excessively during the day is often the clearest indication. Next, snoring is another sign. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that loud snoring was a precursor for children to end up with hyperactivity several years later. After several nights of sleep apnea, children start to exhibit signs of hyperactivity.

Trying to distinguish the two is still very difficult because there is a chance that ADHD interfers with sleep as well. Studies suggest kids with ADHD are sleepier than healthier ones. This is partly due to the fact that their overactive minds prevent a sound nights sleep.

Regardless of the cause, sleep problems can lead to irritability, lack of focus, and trouble in school. And if your child does have ADHD, most stimulant medications can make matters worse. According to the FDA, children still complain of tiredness and irritability after taking Strattera, a medicine that is less likely to interfere with sleep than Ritalin.

Whether it's ADHD or sleep apnea, there are steps you can take to help your child get a good nights sleep. Dr. Owens recommends that there be a regular bedtime, no caffeine or running around before bed, and having a relaxing bedtime ritual like reading, instead of TV.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Benefits of Active Lifestyle & Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Recently two leading neuroscientists announced that an active lifestyle along with a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids helps reduce memory loss and has many other benefits as well.

Along with a healthy diet and staying fit, they also suggest: avoiding high stress levels, try to enjoy a rich and varied social life, increase your mental stimulation by learning new things, thinking young, and taking omega 3's to stop memory loss.

Studies show that omega 3's reduce cell inflammation that causes your memory to decline. Omega 3's have also been known to help maintain a healthy heart and joints, and in protecting your brain against damage caused by Alzheimer's disease.

Nearly everyone has an omega 3 deficiency. These deficiencies have also been linked to problems such as: depression, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Unfortunately there is some confusion between the omega 3's derived from plants, called flax, and the one derived from animal fats. It's important to get equal amounts of both to avoid deficiency. They warn that vegitarians, who do not consume seafood, may well be at risk for every degenerative disease known.

They suggest using high quality fish or cod liver oil so you may retain benefits while decreasing your chance of consuming mercury that is present in most fish. They also point out that it's a good source of vitamin D that many people are also deficient in because they think they have to avoid sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to many forms of cancer, depression, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and bone and muscle problems.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Want Better Test Scores? Feed the Brain

Children who lack adequate nutrition are liable to test lower than students
who are adequately fed. This finding is the result of studies by Harvard
University and Massachusettes General Hospital. Numerous other health care
organizations confer with the findings of this study.

There are also a number of past studies that show benefit in adding quality
nutritional elements to increase focus and concentration and decrease ADD
symptoms. It only makes sense. Feed the body, feed the brain.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Hi all! We just finished a new article that you might be interested in. You can also view archived newsletters.
In a world where we, as adults, are stressed to the maximum, it makes sense that our children are also living very demanding lives.

With most jobs requiring a college degree, the pressure to succeed is more prominent than ever. Children with such disabilities as ADD or ADHD may feel particularly bombarded by stress and anxiety.

Even children who do not suffer from neurological challenges feel the everyday pressure from parents, teachers and peers. Combine these pressures with any disadvantage and you may end up with a child who is in complete distress. Anxious children are often overly tense or uptight. Some may seek a lot of reassurance, and their worries may interfere with activities. Because anxious children may also be quiet, compliant and eager to please, their difficulties may be missed. Parents should be alert to the signs of severe anxiety, such as change in appetite, sleep pattern or overall disposition, so they can intervene early to prevent complications. It is important not to discount a child's fears.

Studies suggest that you may notice more anxiety when a child must make transitions, such as a new teacher or a new school. To avoid adding extra stress during these trying times, you may consider introducing the child to his/her new surroundings, slowly (i.e., meeting the teacher/seeing the school before the year begins). Ask your child if he/she has any concerns or questions and address each one appropriately.

Other major causes of stress are tests and exams. Research has shown that providing students with tools and strategies that build both emotional skills and healthy physical habits when preparing for a test can help them overcome test anxiety and the associated symptoms, while improving their ability to prepare for and perform on critical testing. It’s important to help students identify what they are feeling and give them tools that will help them learn to manage emotions such as anxiety, self-doubt, anger or frustration. The proper physical habits enable students to have enough energy and stamina for their brain to do its job of thinking and analyzing for a sustained period of time. A lot of times before we have to do something like take a test, much of the anxiety we feel is a build-up from negative “what-if’” thoughts. What if I fail, what if I can’t remember anything, or what if I run out of time. Try writing a what-if question that is positive and can help you take the big deal out of the situation and begin to see things in a different way. Examples of these kinds of questions are, “What if I can remember more than I think I can?” “What if I can feel calmer than I think I can?”

If you feel that your child may be experiencing a higher stress level than expected, you may want to try a few simple suggestions. First, school counselors can be very helpful in a student’s ability to adjust. They can relieve some of the anxiety by helping the student choose classes that he/she is prepared for. Counselors can also answer any questions the child may have. Ask your child if he/she is experiencing any problem at school that they need help with (for example, if a child is being bullied he be extremely anxious about going to school at all). If your child is still having trouble adjusting, you may want to seek medical assistance from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

All-in-all, the process of adjusting begins at home. Parents need to ensure that their children are eating a well-balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and that there is an open line of communication. Make sure that your child can come to you at the onset of a problem, before it escalates. Most importantly, do not expect more than your child is capable of. Each student learns at different pace and it can be very detrimental to expect your child to keep up with someone else (like a sibling, for example).

We can all work together to provide our children with the proper resources to become happy, well-rounded adults.

Friday, September 23, 2005


So you think those video games are destroying your child's mind? You may want to re-think that notion.

A recent study of sixth graders diagnosed with ADHD has shown that "extertainment games" (games that mix entertainment with exercise) had a positive effect on a child's memory, receptive coding skills and focus. Half of the children tested were told to play DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) for one hour per week. The half that did not play DDR (or any other game) scored lower on a reading test that was given to both groups.

And, don't forget the the positive health effects of such extertainment games! What a fun alternative to Ritalin!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


With all the information on the negative effects of stress on your health, here are a few more tips to help "lighten your load".

Cut back on your "to do" list. Need to supply treats for Junior's class? Buy, instead of baking, cookies.

Allow the whole family to share in chores.

Find quicker ways to get things done. For instance, throw dinner in the crock pot before you head out the door.

Decide what does and does not need to be done today (or ever)!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Stress, Stress, Stress

For quite awhile stress has been a contributor to many health problems such as suppressing the immune system, leading to decreases in energy and sleep and making the cardiovascular system to work harder. Since there are a few reasons that we can not help when it comes to stress, but there are numerous things that we can do to alleviate everyday stress. The American Dietetic Association gave some great advice on bringing balance and wellness back into your life. Here is what they say to do…

_ Trim your “to do” list by dropping or simplifying one or more of your responsibilities. Such as if you are going to a picnic instead of taking a homemade dessert take a cut-up melon.
_ Get a jumpstart on your cooking. Make double batches on the meals you eat and then refrigerate or freeze the rest so you will have an extra meal already made and ready to go. You can also use a slow cooker to give you a head start on a meal while you are sleeping or at work. Another time saver is to make some extra meals on the weekends when you have extra time and then freeze them.
_ Have your family help with the daily household duties and chores. For example if one person does the cooking another person can do the clean up. Keeping the laundry clean, the lawn in shape and the house tidy should include everyone in the household.
_ Lose the clutter. For example clean your kitchen cabinets, drawers and shelves. Go through papers, voice mails, clipped recipes, coupons and e-mails and only deal with them once. Remember if it is “off your desk and counters” - it is “off your mind”.
_ Lastly, Just say “NO”, if someone asks you to do something and you do not have time simply tell them “NO”!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Daily Routines and ADD

Before you except a prescription from your child’s doctor for his or hers ADD/ADHD symptoms, there are some steps you can take as parents to help control or diminish them all together. If these steps are taken then you known if your child really needs prescription drugs or not. For starters it is noted that Americans watch on average 6 hours of television a day, that’s right 6 hours a day. Televisions are not babysitters nor should they be treated that way. Your child should only be watching at the most 2 hours of television a day and even that is pushing it. The same goes for computer games also. Don’t get me wrong there are educational games that can be beneficial but the time that they are using these games they are sitting and doing anything physical. Imagine the physical activities families can plan together if they had an extra 4 hours a day. There are also some dietary changes that you can make so that your child can learn healthy eating habits and also it will help them be more well balanced in their everyday life. Some of the changes that you can make are:
_ Start to cut down on your child’s intake of soda, kool-aid and similar drinks, after you cut them down then you can slowly eliminate them from the diet altogether.
_ Do not use fast food as a reward for you child, these food are super high in fat and carbohydrates.
_ Cut down the amount of white flour, sugar, preservatives and chemical additives that is in your child’s diet.

Also, last but not least remember this - you are not alone. You are not a failure if the school psychologist wants to talk to you about your child’s shortcomings. More than half of the children in school today have in one way or another been labeled with some sort of behavioral problem.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Researchers find link between stress and asthma

In the Sept. 13th issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers will report on the link they've found between stress and asthma. Using brain scans, they have located the part of the brain that causes people to wheeze and gasp for breath when they are stressed.

In an asthma attack, an allergen provokes the release of chemicals that causes muscles to contract. Then other cells release chemicals called cytokines to fight off the allergen, which causes inflammation, and hence, the wheezing and gasping occur.

Researchers exposed six volunteers to allergens that caused both mucscle contractions and inflammation. Using an M.R.I. and trigger words such as "wheeze" and "suffocate", they have discovered different brain activity between causes of muscle constriction and that of inflammation. They also found that different words used caused and increased the inflammatory phase of an attack.

Although the study had a small amount of test subjects and that it's likely other parts of the brain were used in the process, it reveals an unknown link between the brain and events that occur within the body.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Meditate, Decrease Stress, and Live Longer

Millions of people who enjoy Transcendental Meditation daily will also enjoy a longer, healthier life. A recent study, lead by Dr. Robert Schneider, MD., suggests that by meditating for 20 minutes per day your body releases less stress hormones.

A trial done on 202 seniors with mild hypertension found that those who tried Transcendental Mediation had a 23 percent reduction in death rates. Over a period of 18 years, there were 30 percent fewer deaths from heart disease and 49 percent fewer deaths from cancer. The seniors were put into three groups: those who tried TM daily, those who did daily muscle relaxation, and those who attended monthly classes on healthy eating and exercise.

The TM group had less stress and therefore had less "wear and tear" on the body. The results also indicated lower cholesterol and blood pressure. So find some serenity, relax, and enjoy a longer healthier life.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Need Valium? Soothe Your Soul with Music Instead.

Listening to music is a great way to reducing stress and relieving anxiety, says Cardiologist Raymond Bahr. This doctor asserts that listening to 30 minutes of music produces the same calming effect as taking a 10 milligram dose of valium.

Your individual musical preference will determines which types of soothing sounds will best reduce your tension, blood pressure, and promote feelings of tranquility. And that music preference might change from day to day, or hour to hour.

Within the past few days I have listened to Chopin, Beethoven, the Beatles (Abbey Road on vinyl- awesome album!) Alice in Chains and Nirvana. The genre gap doesn't get much wider.

It's not so much what you listen to, but how you feel when you are listening to the music. Pay attention to how you feel while listening to a particular song or genre of music. Listen to what produce a relaxing effect.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Violent Video Games Can Lead to Aggressive Behavior Among Children

So you think Grand Theft Auto is just a game? Think again.

The American Psychological Association, citing a recent study, says that violence in video games is bad for children's mental health. Research indicates that violent video games increace aggresive thoughts, aggresive acts and anger in children.

The problem is that violent video games often show not ramifications for the violent acts. Research conducted by the American Psychological Association shows that violent behavior without consequences teaches youngsters that violence is an effective means of resolving issues. The statement reads that 73% of the time, violence goes unpunishable in videos.

President of the Entertainment Software Association, Douglas Lowenstein, says that the APA doesn't have credible research and challenges the claim.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Reduce the Chances of Post Partum Depression

Do you want to have a smart baby while decreasing your risk of Post Partum Depression? Try omega-3 rich fish oil.

Studies over the last several years show that pregnant and nursing women can reduce their chances of developing PPD while also improving the neurological development of their unborn child by increasing their consumption of DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid mostly found in fish (such as tuna and salmon) and algae.

Women in the United States have a higher percentage of PPD than women in other countries. At the same time, clinical studies show they have a lower level of DHA in their diet.

Last year the FDA approved the addition of DHA in infant formulas sold in the U.S. Women who want to improve their own levels of DHA can either take dietary supplements or eat more grilled, broiled or baked fish.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Depressed? Take Ashely Judd's Cue and Try Yoga

"Kiss The Girls" actress Ashley Judd, who was diagnosed bipolar a decade ago, says that she prefers Yoga to pills to combat depression.

"My mat is a safe place. I'll go into Child's pose or I'll simply sit on it and cry. It's my rock. I haven't been depressed in a while, but it's something I know how to look for in my life. Yoga has made a big difference there," Judd is quoted as saying.

Judd said that all that comes with yoga was more helpful to her than pills she was prescribed.

If taking antidepressants concerns you, you might just want to give it a try.
Additionally, yoga is said to;
_ Decrease anxiety
_ Improve memory and attention
_ Elevate mood
_ Increase flexibility
_ Increase lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
_ Detoxify the body
_ Tone muscles