Friday, December 30, 2005

Tips to Coping With ADHD

If you’re lie a lot of people and don’t want your child on medicine, here’s a few tips that may help.
1). At School
-Have him/her sit near the teacher.
-Give him a planner so he knows what must be done.
-Maintain close communication with the school to be sure assignments are being done and they can make you aware of any problem areas.
-Meet with the school counselor/teacher to head off any problems.
-If he is eligible for special education services, make sure the teacher consultant works closely with the teacher and you.

2). At Home
-Have him repeat back instructions to make sure he has everything.
-Have specific chores and activities written down and place somewhere where he’ll see them.
-Focus on what he does well and not just what he’s struggling with.
-Structure your home to eliminate problems, such as putting breakables away, create a quiet place for him to study, have predictable places for thing he needs but regularly misplaces. An example is putting his school bag on his des when he gets home.
-Set short goals for him, then gradually increase as he succeeds. Expecting too much from an easily distracted and impulsive child will lead to failure, anger, low self-esteem and poor performance.
-Educate him about his condition, symptoms, and strategies that can help him.
-Monitor and regulate his daily routines to help develop consistent and effective behavior patterns.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

ADHD Drug Cylert Too Dangerous

According to the Food and Drug Administration, liver problems with Abbott Laboratories Inc’s discontinued ADHD drug Cylert and other generic versions, are too dangerous for the U.S. market. This means that drug manufacturers can no longer produce generic versions of pemoline. Abbott Laboratories discontinued the drug earlier this year, but generic versions have remained available. The FDA said it is not recalling the drug. This will allow pharmacies to sell their remaining stock as doctors switch patients to alternative treatments. The lack of a recall caused concern from consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Drs. Sidney Wolfe and Peter Lurie, who lead the organization’s Health Research Group, called the FDA and the involved companies reckless and insensitive to the health and lives of children and adults using this drug. The FDA made the statement that during the thirty years the drug has been available, it has thirteen reports of liver failure resulting in transplant or death among those who too it. According to them, the number is well above what the normal rate is such problems are among the general population. They conclude that the risk of liver failure outweighs the potential benefits, noting that other stimulants have been produced and don’t cause the problems pemoline does.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Patch or Pill for ADHD?

Those suffering from ADHD may soon have a choice of taking pills of using a patch. The patch will deliver methylphenidate, the same ingredient that’s found in Ritalin, Concerta, and Methylin, throughout the day. Pending FDA approval, it will be the first ADHD medicine that doesn’t have to be taken orally. The company plans to call it Daytrana.
This transdermal delivery system is designed to provide a continuous release of medicine throughout the day. It will pass through the skin and go directly into the blood stream, and it will be water-resistant. Studies reported at the American and Canadian Academies of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry find it’s effectiveness as well as the once a day drug. Of 80 ADHD kids, aged 6-12, studied, those receiving the real patch, not a placebo, did much better. Their behavior and attention, tested throughout the day, had improved. They also achieved better results on age-adjusted math tests. Side effects were similar to other stimulant drugs, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and those with sensitive skin experienced irritation.
Another study on the patch compared it with a placebo and methylphenidate pills. Both the patch and pills improved ADHD symptoms in 6-12 year olds. Scores improved slightly more with the patch compared to the pills, but the difference wasn’t significant enough to claim scientific proof of superiority.
The patch would be ideal for children who can’t swallow pills. This is especially important for those taing the extended release pills because they cant’ be broken up or the release mechanisms will be destroyed. Another important factor is that the patch offers parents control over how long they want the medication to last. Once a child swallows a pill, you can’t do anything about it. The patch may release methylphenidate for up to 16 hours. And it must be removed for three hours before its effects wear off. But parents can decide to remove it earlier or leave it on beyond the school day. Knowing there was continuing efficacy beyond that 12 hour time point may give them more options.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pessimism Can Lead To Dementia

Here’s another reason to stay positive; a new study by researchers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Found that pessimists are more likely than optimists to develop dementia later in life.
Studied were people ages 20-69 who had taken memory impairment tests in the 1960’s and then developed dementia 20-30 years later. Those without a history of psychiatric problems, but scored high on the pessimism scale were 30 percent more likely to develop dementia. People who scored high on the depression scale increased their risk by 40 percent. This either causes stress hormones to be released or their might be a group of genes linked for dementia and pessimism. Whatever the cause, the results are pretty clear-you need to rev up your optimism. Here are four simple tips that can help change your gloomy outlook.
1. Applaud Yourself-Rather than thinking how much time it will take to accomplish a large goal, accomplish small goals and give yourself a pat on the back.
2. Don’t Let Fear Lead To Pessimism-Don’t avoid activities because you’re afraid of triggering a flare. You now you deserve to have some fun, just be sensible about when, and how long you do it.
3. Don’t Beat Yourself Up When Things Go Wrong-If your arthritis is acting up, find a way to enjoy the day anyway. If you had to cancel lunch with a friend, why not invite her over and order takeout instead.
4. Love Yourself-If you’re starring in the mirror wishing you looked younger, give yourself some positive affirmation. Say something like, “These laugh lines make me who I am,”

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Classical Music Soothes the Mind and Body

Sing researchers and music therapists believe classical music can soothe aching limbs and decrease stress. A recent study found that Mozart and Bach, slow-tempo music, decreased chronic osteoarthritis pain. Study researchers from the Florida Atlantic University College of Nursing, Boca Raton, found that pain levels decreased from participants because the music distracted them. They also found that heart muscles synchronize to the beat of music, as does breathing. Classical music rhythms mimic the average resting heart. Therefore, listening t soothing sounds actually help to slow fast-beating hearts. Joanne Loewy, PhD, director of music therapy for Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, uses music to slow hr patients’ breathing and to help promote relaxation.
But not all music is the same. Some faster compositions can actually rev up the nervous system, maing people more sensitive to pain.
Steven Halpern, PhD, composes music for healing and relaxation and offers tips to finding music that can decrease stress and keep your mind off of pain. He says to pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. If it slows down while you’re listening, the music is soothing you. Music that makes your heart race should be used for exercising. He also suggests making your own compilations. Store bought compilations are often a mix of soothing and rousing music.
Finally, if you really don’t care for classical, you can try jazz of new age genres. Loewy states that any type of music that makes you feel good when listening to it can be effective.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Six Ways To A Better Doctor's Appointment

Like your doctor, but don’t feel like you’re connecting? Experts offer advice to be sure you’re not the one creating tension between the two of you.
1. Come Prepared.
Write down your questions, symptoms, and things to discuss with your doctor before your appointment. When you do this, the conversation will keep moving and your doctor is more likely to stay focused on you.
2. Take Notes.
Studies show that 20-50 percent of what the doctors said is forgotten by the time you get in the parking lot. Write down instructions or any other important information while you’re in there. This also lets the doctor know that you take him/her seriously.
3. Avoid “By the Way” Moments.
If you’re too nervous, feel too rushed, or you’re too embarrassed to ask the one question that really matters to you, you’ll often blurt it out while the doctor is going out the door. Often the most important things are brought up in the last minutes of an appointment and they can make a difference in your treatment regimen.
4. Do What Your Doctor Says.
Believe it or not, many patients don’t follow their doctor’s recommendations and don’t get better. If you feel uncomfortable with the treatment or if you feel you can’t do it, speak up. Your doctor would rather help you create a new plan than prescribe one you won’t or can’t follow.
5. Be Honest.
You may not want to tell your doctor you’re taking nutritional supplements or that you’ve started smoking again, but keeping these things from him can cause problems. Your doctor can’t help you if you don’t tell him the whole story. You may even get hurt if he prescribes something that conflicts with what you’re taking.
6. Speak Up.
David Watts, MD, physician, poet, author, and commentator on National Public Radio, says to tell your doctor if he says or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Your feedback will help other patients as well.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

When Your Job Has You Stressed, See Your Spouse

New research shows that a supportive spouse can help calm the negative effects of job stress, especially high blood pressure. A study of 216 men and women found that after one year, job stress and the lack of a supportive spouse had their blood pressure rising 2.8 mm Hg in systolic pressure. However, those volunteers who had spousal support showed a decrease in their systolic pressure by 2.5 mm Hg.

Researchers say the key is "marital cohesion" - basically the ability to talk things over on a daily basis. An attentive spouse who pays atttention to their partner's needs, is a good sympathizer and is willing to spend time with their spouse is a gem.

This study should alert those with a high stress job and/or low marital cohesion to get a blood pressure screening. For those who had a "harmonious" relationship that is deteriorating, a check with a counselor might also be in order.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Even in the Cold, Stay Active and Happy

Research from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, part of the Department of Defense, reports that during the cold holidays, the last thing on your mind is probably exercise. But taking a vacation from fitness could hurt. According to the University, just one week without exercise increased fatigue in their 20 adult subjects. After a second week, they began showing symptoms of depression. They believe that one reason might be that at-rest heart rates increase without regular activity, and the mind senses that something is amiss. Participants in the best shape on the first day ended the study in the worst of moods. Lead author Ali A. Berlin says because their initial heart rats were so low, they experienced the greatest change in heart rate, and the biggest shock to their systems. He says that people can take breaks, but they should just switch to a lower-intensity routine. And if you have to stop due to an injury, he recommends staying upbeat with low-impact exercises such as stretching, physical therapy, or water workouts.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Adult ADHD Meds Double

New research shows that the use of prescription medication for ADHD is growing at a faster rate among adults than children. The use of drugs that help keep ADHD patients focused, doubled among adults 20-44 between 2000-2004. But according to data compiled by Medco Health Solutions, one of the countries largest prescription benefit manager, it only rose 56 percent among children during that time. The study also shows that among women 20-44, use of prescriptions rose 113 percent and 104 percent among those between 45-64, both far more than men. They also point out that spending on the medicines has quadrupled. Experts say reasons for the increase include better drugs, advertising, and parents of children recently diagnosed with ADHD realizing they too have the symptoms.

Doctors are now seeing about 1 percent of adults being treated and 4 times as many are estimated to have ADHD. This means that nearly 1.5 million Americans 20 and older are taking ADHD medicine. These figures dispel the earlier beliefs that children grow out of ADHD. About 50 percent of adults still have problems that affect their functioning. And now, many are staying on their medication beyond adolescence.

Part of the increase is due to awareness of the disorder among the public through advertising. Eli Lilly and Co., makers of Strattera, have been running TV adds aimed at adults who may not realize they have the disorder. Also, the makers of Adderall XR and Concerta have advertised in magazines geared to parents of kids with ADHD.

ADHD has symptoms that include trouble concentrating, impulsivity, disorganization, procrastination and hyperactivity. Along with behavioral therapy, medication is good because it can improve adults' relationships, parenting skills, job performance, even their sex lives, according to Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of a new ADHD book called, "Delivered from Distraction". With new, brand-name versions that last all day, limiting the ups and downs of symptoms, sales have soared from $759 million in 2000 to $3.1 billion in 2004, according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical informatin and consulting firm. And as drug makers receive regulartory approval specifically to market to adults, the market for ADHD drugs could easily double.

While there are benefits for some adults, others are just stressed out and are being misdiagnosed. More adults are being diagnosed due to better diagnosis procedures. He points out that adults don't just get ADHD, they had it when they were kids too. He says that 3-7 percent of the nation's children have ADHD and a third of them have the disorder with the same intensity in adulthood. While stimulants and non-stimulants are used to help some, doctors cannot act cavalier with the symptoms of ADHD. In our overstressed society, many symptoms can be describing a very stressed out, overloaded person.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

ADHD Med May Help Autism

According to research published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assoc. Archives of General Psychiatry, children with autism may benefit from a drug that is commonly prescribed for ADHD.
Researchers enrolled 72 children in the largest study yet of a stimulant medication, Ritalin, for autistic kids that are hyperactive. They were trying to see if methylphenidate would be effective in reducing hyperactivity and impulsiveness in children with autism.
For the first week, each child participated in a tolerance test of three different dose levels. Next, a four week phase where they were given either a previously tested dose or a placebo. Those who had a positive response were treated for an additional eight weeks to make sure their response was stable.
Of those who participated, 14 withdrew due to intolerable side effects. 35 responded well to methylphenidate and experienced a significant reduction in hyperactivity. However, reduction in symptoms for the entire group was not as great as is typically seen when used to treat those with ADHD.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Exercise Can Lift A Heavy Heart

For the millions of Americans striken each year with depression, they may want to consider walking, running, and even swimming away from their problems. Recent studies show that any form of exercise is as effective as antidepressant medications in reducing the symptoms on those with major depression. It doesn't seem to matter how long you need to exercise. Just get up and do it!
A study done five years ago found that just 10 months of exercise outperformed the antidepressant Zoloft in easing symptoms in young adults with moderate to severe depression.
A study done in 2005, by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, found that 30 minute aerobic workouts three to five times a week cut symptoms by 50 percent in young adults.
Experts agree that those truly depressed can find it rough to get into an exercise routine. That's were loved ones can play a key role. By urging a depressed friend or family member to join them, they're offering helpful support in getting people to maintain exercise. For those who are depressed, exercise may prove to be a viable, worry-free alternative that has great cardiovascular benefits.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Adults With ADHD Often Suffer Psychiatric Problems

According to a recent study, adults with a history of ADHD often suffer from multiple psychiatric problems during their lives, including depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Researchers found that in their study group of parents with past or current ADHD symptoms, 87 percent had at least one other psychiatric disorder and 56 percent had two or more. Major depression was the most common diagnosis that affected 59 percent.
The study, found in the American Journal of Psychiatry, says this is a major public health problem. The authors feel that an estimated 4 percent of adults with ADHD have such a high rate of co-existing disorders. One of their major concerns is that these disorders can affect parenting and ADHD is believed to have a strong genetic component. The University of California, Los Angeles researchers assessed 435 parents who had at least one child with ADHD. By using questionnaires and interviews, they found that 35 percent of parents had ADHD at some point in their lives and about half still showing symptoms.
These parents also had higher risks and earlier onset of a number of psychiatric disorders. Dr. James J. McGough says that 21 percent of parents with ADHD had an anxiety disorder at some point, whereas 8 percent of parents were unaffected. 59 percent of the ADHD parents suffered from major depression during their lives compared to 40 percent of unaffected parents. Those parents with ADHD were also more likely to suffer from oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder as children. Both of these disorders and major depression tended to arise at a younger age amoung ADHD parents. McGough is unclear whether these co-existing disorders emerge as a consequence of ADHD, or represent some biological susceptibility to certain psychiatric conditions.
They suggest doctors look for signs of other psychiatric conditions when assessing adult ADHD. They also suggest considering the possibility of the attention disorder when evaluating adults for conditions like depression and anxiety.