Friday, April 28, 2006

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.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

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, April 25, 2006

Will School Standards Boost ADHD Diagnosis Odds?

Factors such as a child's social and school environment may play a role in whether or not ADHD is diagnosed.
In the April issue of Pediatrics, it reports that one factor is whether your school has strict accountability standards designed to improve your child's academic performance. They say that the stricter the accountability laws are, the higher the odds were that your child will be diagnosed with ADHD. Researchers also say that it is difficult to say whether there's a positive or negative relationship between the two. And that school standards may have unintended consequences.
They say that schools with strict standards might encourage parents or teachers to treat children with medication rather than address other behavioral aspects.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A New Way To Treat Depression

After almost fifteen years of development by Somerset Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the first skin patch to treat depression will be on shelves soon.
On Feb. 28, the FDA approved the patch called Emsam. Of the 14 million U.S. adults with major depression, it’s expected to add another option for them, including some who don’t respond to other treatments.
Selegiline, the active ingredient found in Emsam, is the same chemical that makes up the base for another of Somerset’s products called Eldepryl, which is a capsule used to treat Parkinson’s disease.
The patch will be advantages in that it will bypass the liver by delivering the rug through the skin and going directly to the brain. This is also beneficial because Selegiline is an MAOI, which can interact with foods such as cheese, meats, and alcohol, causing high blood pressure.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New CDC Stats-Very Interesting

A new Center for Disease Control report shows some very interesting information about Attention Deficit Disorder. Here goes;

_ About 4.4 million kids have been diagnosed with ADHD. More than half of those kids (56 percent, or 2.5 million kids) were taking medication for ADHD when the survey was done.

_ ADHD was diagnosed more often in boys than in girls. For boys, ADHD diagnosis was more common in families living below the poverty level. ADHD diagnosis history was most common among 16-year-old boys, with about 15 percent having been diagnosed with ADHD.

_ ADHD was diagnosed less often in minority children and those without health insurance.

The number of kids with reported ADHD diagnosis varied greatly from state to state - from 5 percent in Colorado to 11 percent in Alabama. Medication practices also varied. California had the lowest percentage of kids taking medication for ADHD (more than 40 percent) and Nebraska had the highest percentage (almost 58 percent).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

U.S. Doctors Looking For Alternative Treatments

Across the U.S., many doctors are now studying a variety of non-medical treatments for ADHD and similar disorders. Although no definitive studies have been done about exercise and ADHD, it makes sense that exercise would help people cope with the condition. This is due in part because exercise increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which helps people focus. Cognitive function is also better for one to three hours after exercise. Some researchers believe that if kids would exercise strenuously tree to five ties a day, there may be no need for medication at all. Involving kids in team sports can help in several ways. Kids will benefit from following a regular schedule and coaches who lead them through structured exercises also might help build concentration and organizational sills. Yet studies show that today's children are more sedentary than they were a generation or tow ago, which seems to have contributed to increasing childhood obesity rates. This leads to speculation that one reason for the increasing rate of ADHD is lack of exercise. New research has also shown that meditation, done twice a day for a few minutes, is an effective treatment for ADHD. Improvements include better attention and impulse control, improvement in academic performance, enhanced problem solving sills and the reduction of stress, anxiety and anger. Transcendental meditation, TM, is a specific form that helps the mind settle down to a state of what's called "restful alertness'. It is a mental technique that involves narrowing the focus of the mind in an effortless way that allows it to settle sown. Once settled, the body becomes deeply relaxed allowing you to experience profound levels of relaxation while you're awake. In one study, kids with ADHD who meditated for ten minutes twice a day had significant improvement in several areas. The children were required to simply sit in silence with closed eyes and thin about nothing more than a mantra, which could consist of a single word. There were 45-50 percent reductions in anxiety, stress and depression. They also showed improvement in organizational skills, memory, strategizing, mental flexibility, attention and impulsivity. Other studies involving TM on kids without ADHD have shown to lower blood pressure and raise IQ. For kids with ADHD, the benefits may be much greater. Across the country, some schools have already incorporated meditation into their daily routines. There is also a national TM organization that can have a speaker arranged to come to schools to talk to officials about TM.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Is Anxiety the Cause or Effect?

Experts have been asking for sometime now if the anxiety that is often associated with chronic depression a cause or effect of the illness?

New research performed on mice suggests that chronic stress may be a trigger and not a symptom of depression. These findings are in the April issue of the Journal Behavioral Neuroscience. The research team from Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Boston believes that the findings could also help improve treatments for the disorder.

It is already a known fact that those with depression tend to have higher levels of the human stress hormone called cortical, but it has never been clear if this was a cause or effect of depression. According to the new mouse study, long term exposure to cortical may actually contribute to depression.

Researchers exposed mice to twenty four hours and seventeen to eighteen doses of the rodent stress hormone corticosterone. This hormone was put in their water so that the stress of having an injection would not interfere with the results. This same method was done to a group of mice with a shorter term of exposure.

Those who had long term exposure took longer time emerging from a small dark compartment into a brightly lit open area, which is a common behavioral test of anxiety in animals. These results suggest that these mice were more fearful and less willing to explore their new environment.

Researchers also found that mice with longer exposure showed dulled reactions to being startled, which is an indication that their nervous system was overwhelmed.

New Device to Treat Depression

Billed as “a pacemaker for the brain”, a pocket watch sized device may be the newest cutting edge treatment for as many as 4 million adults whose severe depression is not relieved by psychotherapy, drugs, or even shock treatments. Since it’s FDA approval eight months ago, more than 550 Americans have had a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) implanted in their chests to activate parts of their brain. The VNS is a battery operated generator that is attached to an electrode that is then implanted in the vagus nerve in the neck. The generator than emits regular pulses of electricity that is supposed to stimulate serotonin and other brain chemicals that are believed to regulate mood. But does this new device really work? Is VNS a lifesaving treatment for chronic depression or is it an unproven and potentially harmful treatment based on flimsy science, as critics contend? The only clinical trial of this device, which is approved to treat severe epilepsy, failed to demonstrate the effectiveness in relieving depression. Due to the lack of alternatives for the severely depressed, a top DDA official overruled unanimous opposition of 20 staff members and approved this device to treat adults who failed four other alternatives

Monday, April 17, 2006

Why Be a Yogi?

I recently received this from a realtor mailing and thought you might enjoy it.

Why Be a Yogi?

Not only can yoga help you stay fit and improve your posture, but it can also relieve stress and improve your concentration. Thinking about becoming a yogi? Read on and you'll likely be convinced:

-Relieves stress: The breathing techniques, stretches, and poses used in yoga will help you cope with life's challenges both personally and professionally.

-Builds strength: Yoga will tone your body, but you will also be gaining muscle strength, improving your endurance, and sharpening your balance.

-Improves concentration: After participating in yoga for a while, you are likely to find that your attention span will increase significantly.

-Increases self-acceptance: When you pay closer attention to what your body is doing and what it is capable of doing, you will learn to stop judging yourself and you'll respect yourself more.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

FDA Troubled By Hallucinations

Experts at the FDA said they are troubled after looking over reports of hallucinations experienced by those using ADHD medications. Many found it striking just how often young children described various bugs, insects, and worms, both visual and tactile, which haven't been seen elsewhere. These hallucinations are extremely rare in young children, occurred in patients taking commonly prescribed doses, and the visions usually went away after stopping the medication. One case involved a 12 year old boy with cerebral palsy who was taking Ritalin. After taking his medication one morning, he hallucinated that roaches were surrounding him. Doctors stopped the medicine and the visions went away. Unfortunately, his ADHD came back strongly. He was put back on Ritalin and the hallucinations returned immediately. Drug treatment had to be halted. The FDA believes that the visions recurrence were drug related. However, some manufacturers believed that the children had underlying psychiatric problems that emerged when their ADHD was brought under control. Other children had reported seeing snakes, spiders, bugs and jellyfish. In some cases, they felt as though the insects were crawling on them. One 7 year old girl acted and felt as if she had hit a wall after taking only her second dose of Strattera. Partly because most serious drug problems are never reported to the government, it is unclear what percentage of ADD patients experience these reactions. Some experts offer estimates of 2-5 percent.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Key To Treating Depression

A new study funded by The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda suggests that determination is the key to treating depression. Results showed that some people who don’t initially improve with an antidepressant may do so if they try other treatments. Phase one of the study looked at how people with major depression responded to the drug Celexa. One third of them had positive results. For the others, in phase tow doctors found that an additional third became symptom free by taking an additional antidepressant and about one quarter recovered by switching to a different one. Based on these findings, researchers say patients should try an antidepressant for 6-12 weeks to see if it works. If it doesn’t, then you should try another. Sometimes people who don’t respond well to synthetic prescriptions may want to try alternative natural therapies, such as Deprex. A big plus to Deprex is that it won’t give you the bad side effects that you may experience wit prescription drugs.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Environmental Triggers of ADHD

Previous studies have determined that environmental factors such as exposure to lead, substance and alcohol abuse and smoking during pregnant, an impoverished environment, malnourished, physical abuse, traumatic brain injury and seizures may be reasons for childhood behavioral problems. Research also shows that children of tobacco users face a higher risk of ADD. One study of 2,232 5 year old twins suggested that there is a connection between affection given by the other and lower rates of the disorder in those with a low birth weight. Another study done at the University of Illinois studied hyperactive children between 5-8 years and discovered tat playing outdoors can have a big positive impact. Finally, a Temple University preliminary report found that deep pressure and strenuous exercise can soothe symptoms, such as restlessness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Another environmental trigger is violence. In a number of surveys, it's been found that violence can also be a possible factor in hyperactivity. One survey, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that 90 percent of children between 4 and 6 were exposed to some form of aggression that caused a traumatic stress reaction, such as nightmares, thumb-sucking or bed wetting. Also, one third have allergies, asthma or ADHD. Investigators observed that those who had one or more of these health problems were significantly more likely to have had an encounter with excessive force. Finally, a huge number of reports have linked lack of sleep with behavioral problems. One study of 229 preschoolers showed that those who snored were four times more likely to develop new or worsened symptoms of hyperactivity four years later than those who slept well.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Depression is Common For Parents

According to a new analysis based on data from the National Survey of Families and Households, parents experience higher levels of depression then adults who do not have children. A study conducted by the Florida State University also found that increased symptoms of depression don’t leave you when the kids grow up and leave. Researchers are therefore suggesting that worrying is a lifelong cost of having children. Those who exhibit more signs of depression are the ones whose children are grown and parents who don’t have custody of minor children.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Is Being A Perfectionist Pushing You To The Edge?

The drive to get things done right is making many people prone to depression,obsessive-compulsive disorders and suicidal thoughts. Negative feelings could be reduced significantly by using cognitive behavioral therapy similar to depression and anxiety treatments. These treatments helped decrease the levels of depression and obsessive compulsive behavior. But some people wonder what’s wrong with being perfect? Because being perfect will become a problem when people’s goals are not attainable. It can cause feelings of failure that can lead to these psychological problems.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

PLEASE Read If You're On Adderall

I'm sure that most of you have seen a lot of stories pertaining to the terrible side effects of Adderall. This is a very powerful stimulant that you mostly hear side effect stories from children who are on it. Well, today, I couldn't believe what I heard from a wonderful person who just recently purchased Attend for her son. She is trying to win a battle against her son's doctors and teachers who are telling her that he needs to be on prescription medication; prescription medication that took the life of a child she knew. But what's even more tragic was that it wasn't the child who was on Adderall-it was his mother. When the first trial against the makers of Adderall was taking place, she was there telling her story about how she had killed her seven year old son during a psychotic episode she had because of Adderall. I know these types of stories are very rare, but it's so shocking when you do hear one. I'm not saying that everyone on Adderall is going to have a psychotic episode. What I am saying is that everyone responds differently to medications, no matter what it is. All I hope is to try to make more people aware and hope they'll take a little more time doing research, finding alternatives, if possible, and getting more than one doctors opinion. No one should die because they have ADHD.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Is Provigil Good For ADHD?

According to the panel of experts that advises the FDA, Provigil, a drug used to treat ADHD, is not safe enough to win their approval. They are most concerned about the side effects of skin rashes, which can lead to hospitalization. They have called upon the manufacturer, Cephalon, to conduct more clinical trials, believing more patients need to be studied before approval will be granted. They voted 12-1 against recommending Provigil as safe for children who have ADHD. Provigil, already approved to treat sleep disorders, is seeking to market under the name Sparlon for those with ADHD. This ADHD version, also known as modafinil, would be a smaller tablet and have a wider range of doses. Although approval was given by the FDA in October of 2005 to use for ADHD, it had concerns about rashes, mania, aggression and other possible psychiatric effects that prompted the added advice from the expert panel. Even if the wider use is approved, Sparlon will more than likely come with the strongest warning possible, which is the black box warning. This recommendation follows only one day after another FDA panel called for all ADD drugs to include new information about psychiatric and heart risks, even though the data is still unclear. Apparently some panel members are uneasy about supporting Sparlon when other treatments are available and just as effective. This is another setback for Cephalon, who faced problems with its sleep disorder drug Nuvigil and the Vivitrol alcoholism treatment it is developing along with Alkermes Inc. The FDA committee recommends that Cephalon carries out a trial of 3,000 patients to help determine the risk the drug may pose for the sometimes fatal skin disease known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which can produce widespread blistering and rashes. During previous studies, it was found that one out of 900 children developed the disease.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sick Building Syndrome

In a recent study, researchers found that out of more than 4,000 government employees, high job demands and the perception of poor support were more closely related to sick building symptoms than were the physical conditions of the workplace. According to these British researchers, its work related stress rather than the building conditions that are causing the problem. The cluster of symptoms includes headache, nasal congestion, and fatigue and eye irritation. These appear to occur when a person is in a particular indoor environment. Researchers have failed to find connections that were consistent between symptoms and specific physical conditions of buildings. Now there is growing evidence that job stress, especially when combined with demanding work and little autonomy, has health effects and the physical reactions to stress are similar to those that attribute to sick building syndrome. In a recent study at eh University College London Medical School; employees were surveyed about symptoms, job stress and the conditions of their work space. They even took environmental measurements of temperature, dust, humidity, airborne fungus, bacteria, and other conditions in some of the buildings. There was some evidence that heat and humidity and levels of dust and bacteria were related to the symptoms. But there was a stronger relationship between the symptoms and job stress, such as demanding work and a feeling of lack of support from superiors and co-workers. These finding suggest that the social and psychological environment of the workplace should be a consideration when employees are affected by fatigue, headaches and other symptoms that are attributed to sick building syndrome.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Can Omega Oils Calm ADHD Teens?

A recent study by English researchers found that supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6 oils, which are all found in Attend, could improve the behavior and attention span of ADHD teenagers.
Studied were twenty teens between 12 and 15, 90 percent of whom had moderate to severe ADHD. They were given supplements for three months and found that inattentiveness fell from 94 percent to 17 percent by the end of the trial. Similar results were seen for impulsivity, which lowered from 89 percent to 28 percent. The supplements effect is proposed to function by increasing blood flow, and it is also suggested to affect hormones and the immune system, which have a direct effect on brain function.