Friday, September 29, 2006

The FDA Says "No" To Modanfinil

Potentially fatal side effects stopped the proposed ADHD drug Modafinil from reaching FDA approval. Modafinil contains the same active ingredient as Provigil, an FDA-approved drug used to boost wakefulness and focus for adults with excessive sleepiness and narcolepsy.

Some doctors currently prescribe Provigil for Attention Deficit Disorder. If your child currently takes Provigil for ADHD, note that a recent study of the drug showed that one in 933 children developed a life-threatening skin condition.

Please speak to your health care provider about a safer treatment for ADHD. Or, consider using Attend, which is shown to be as effective as current ADHD medications but does not pose negative side effects.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Power of Marketing

Allowing drugmakers to market ADHD drugs straight to the consumer spurred a 250 percent increase in psychotropic drugs in teens, a new study found.

Prior to 1994, drugmakers were not allowed to direct-to-consumer market psychotropic drugs. The federal government lifted the ban and the drug use floodgates opened.

According to a new Brandeis University study, published in the journal of Psychiatric Services, prescriptions of psychotropic drugs for teens increased 250% between 1994 and 2001.

By 2001, one in every ten office visits by teenage boys led to a prescription. Also, a diagnosis of ADHD was given in about one-third of the office visits that occurred during the study period. Furthermore, psychotropic drugs were prescribed without a mental health diagnosis in 14 to 26 percent of doctor visits.

This dramatic drug use increase occurred despite the fact that few of these psychotropic drugs are approved for children under 18. Researchers say that this trend needs further investigation.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ADHD Medicines Price-Gouging

The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board is investigating the makers of Concerta and Adderall XR for price gouging after a review that shows these drugmakers charge consumers 115 to 445 percent above the maximum level set for ADHD drugs.

Both Concerta and Adderall XR are once-daily time-released drugs. While the manufacturers claim the drugs are an improvement to Ritalin and Dexedrine, the review board believes prices should be the same unless Concerta and Adderall XR are considered a breakthrough or have a substantial improvement on existing treatments.

Compare Concerta and Ritalin, which have the same identical active ingredient; Concerta costs range from $1.98 to $3.20 per capsule while Ritalin costs range from .50 cents to $1.45 per capsule. Monthly, Concerta can cost anywhere from $61.38 to $96 while Ritalin can cost $15.50 to $44.95.

For many families, especially those without insurance coverage, the costs of these new drugs can be overwhelming. Due to the strong genetic component to the disorder, there are many families who have more than one child on medication, causing monthly prescription bills to run into hundreds of dollars.

It would be remiss not to mention that Attend, a once daily ADHD treatment that is shown to be as effective as Ritalin and Concerta, costs just $35.95 monthly. In addition to the health and wellness benefit of Attend, Attend is also a cost-effective way to treat ADHD symptoms.

Attend also comes with a 100 percent money-back guarantee. Just try getting your money back from the pharmacist if Concerta or Ritalin do not work to reduce ADHD symptoms!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Should You Treat Depression During Pregnancy?

Whether or not to treat depression while pregnant with prescription anti-depressants is a complex question. Women and their doctors must consider the benefits to mother while weighing the risks to mom and her unborn child.

Two new studies provide information regarding depression and pregnancy, but make the decision no easier.

The first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that women who stopped taking prescription antidepressants were five times more likely to relapse into depression during pregnancy then women who continued taking antidepressants.

However, a second study shed light to a serious health danger to babies born of mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy. This study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that women taking antidepressant drugs during pregnancy were six times more likely to have babies with persistent pulmonary hypertension. Persistent pulmonary hypertension is a life-threatening lung condition that prevents babies from getting enough oxygen into their bloodstream.

Most everything a woman takes during pregnancy will make its way to baby. If a woman can manage through pregnancy without the use of pharmaceutical drugs, baby will be better off. If the depression is too serious to avoid intervention, please speak to your doctor about natural alternatives like Deprex. Natural alternatives can be much healthier for mother and baby than using antidepressant drugs. As always, women should discuss all medications and supplements used during pregnancy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pine Bark Extract - An Ingredient in Attend - Reduces ADHD Symptoms

A recent study shows that Pine Bark Extract, a powerful antioxidant commonly used in folk medicine, significantly reduces ADHD symptoms in children. Not coincidentally, this is one of almost 70 ingredients in Attend.

This study, published in the journal of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, showed that Pycnogenol (pine bark extract) as an effective treatment for ADHD symptoms.

The study showed reduced hyperactivity and improved attention, concentration and motor-visual coordination while taking pine bark extract, and a return of ADHD symptoms once the group stopped taking pine bark extract.

In this double-blind study of 61 patients, 41 received Pycnogenol daily for a month and 16 received a placebo. Patients were tested and evaluated before treatment, one month after treatment and one month after the end of the study. Those taking Pycnogenol daily for one month showed a drastic drop in hyperactivity and inattention compared to those who received a placebo. After a month of not taking pine bark extract, researchers again performed testing and found that ADHD symptoms.

Bring on the pine bark extract! This finding is important news for families concerned about the dangers and side effects of ADHD medications and for those seeking natural alternative to ADHD medications.

Most ADHD medications can be addictive and all ADHD medications have side effects - some of which are serious and potentially life-threatening. The Center for Disease Control estimates that ADHD medications cause over 3,000 emergency visits each year due to these drugs.

In addition to increased cognitive function, Pycnogenol - an ingredient in Attend - also provides health benefits for the heart, circulatory system, skin.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sage To Sharpen the Senses and Calm the Nerves

Folk medicine claims that sage quickens the senses, sharpens memory and reduces stress. New research confirms the sage wisdom of this medicinal herb.

British researchers studied alertness and anxiety levels of volunteers taking either 300mg of sage leaf extract, 600mg of sage leaf extract or a placebo sugar pill. Study participants were then given multi-tasking tests one hour and four hours after taking the pills.

Compared to the placebo group, study participants taking sage were more calm and remained more alert before, during and at the end of testing. The group taking the highest dose of sage fared best.

Sage is proven to slow the release of enzymes that break down neurotransmitters. Inhibiting these enzymes can improve mood by maintaining higher levels of neurotransmitters responsible for happy moods.

Try this at home; Before a stressful event take 600 mg of sage leaf capsules and see how well you fare. You can also make sage tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried sage in one cup of water.
**It should be noted that pregnant women should not take this herb.

Sage To

Friday, September 15, 2006

Too Many "Balls in the Air"?

Working moms know the meaning of "juggling" all too well but usually that reference to multitasking is negative. However, a new study shows that multi-tasking moms might have a healthiness edge over single working women and stay-at-home moms, a recently-released London study reports.

University College London researchers began studying 1,700 26-year-old women 27 years ago. At the end of the study, researchers found that by age 53, 38% of stay-at-home moms were obese, compared with 23% of working mothers. Women who did not carry the triple wife/mother/working woman title (specifically single women and stay-at-home mothers) were also more likely to report other health concerns.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Benefits of Omega-3

When it comes to boosting brain function, the Omega-3 family of essential fatty acids clearly emerge as a must-have brain health nutrient. According to a Purdue University study, children deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids are more likely to display ADHD symptoms like impulsiveness, lack of concentration, behavioral problems and excessive physical activity. One specific Omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), shows itself to be the darling of Omega-3s when it comes to nourishing the brain and stabalizing behavior. The Purdue study found that DHA plays a role in managing behavior and mood and can help children be more productive in school. Other studies confirm that DHA plays an important role in brain development and reducing cognitive decline.

Fish oil and wild salmon excellent source of DHA but good luck getting those down a picky eater's throat. Omega-3 enriched eggs are a good dietary option. Attend also contains DHA, along with every other Omega-3 in the fatty acid family.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Cholesterol and Memory

A 2005 Journal of Nutrition study found a connection between saturated fats and brain function in kids. This study found that as cholesterol intake increased, children's performance on memory tests decreased. With each 100mg intake of cholesterol, poor performance on the test increased by 25 percent.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Parents Looking At Alternatives

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4.4 million children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD and 2.5 million children in that age range
receive prescription drugs to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. Despite the high
number of children taking ADHD medication, this also shows a high number of parents electing not to medicate their ADD children. Parents increasingly seek natural remedies that include diet modification, nutritional supplementation and homeopathy to avoid the negative side effects of ADHD drugs.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

ADHD and School Success-Yes, it is Possible!

A day in school requires sustained attention, sitting quietly and refined social skills - all of which ADHD children tend to have great difficult mastering. With a teamwork approach to education, solid communication and a few tried and try tips, the education process does not need to be an exercise in frustration for the student, parent or teacher.

To help ease the strains of ADHD and the school setting, try these back-to-school tips to encourage a successful school year.

Communicate Early and Often with the Teacher: Teachers need to know early of any issues that might create an education obstacle and ADHD most certainly falls into that category. Ideally, parents should meet with the child's teacher early in the school year to develop an early line of communication, head off potential problems and allow a proactive approach with the child’s education. In addition to communicating information to the teacher, seasoned teachers can often provide information that will help parents.

The time-constricted parent/teacher conferences, typically held after the first grading period, may not provide enough time to discuss the particular strengths and weaknesses of child. Additionally, your child might already be marked as a troublemaker or a slacker by that time. Undoing that label may not be as easy after one fourth of the school year already gone.

Understand Today's Classroom: In any given classroom, teachers likely have a couple ADHD students, a few more with unique emotional obstacles or educational special needs and then about 20 other "average" students. As parents, we know the extra dose of patience and understanding needed in working with the ADHD child. We also know (all too well, I am afraid), that our patience can be pushed to the absolute limit. Teachers face the same issues, and then some.

Patience is a Two-Way Street: Just as parents ask for patience and understanding with their ADHD child, teachers should also receive patience and understanding. A relationship built on the single goal of teaching the ADHD child benefits the child more than teachers and parents finger-pointing at each other over the educational process.

Be Goal-Oriented: If you do have a conflict with the teacher, try to approach the problem in a positive light. The teacher might tell you that your child will not stay in his seat, pokes at other students or is heading straight for a detention. Instead of focusing on the immediate problem at hand, focus on action plans to modify the behavior.

Homework Tips for Parents: Try these homework tips to ease the strain at home.
- Establish a Set Homework Routine: Because the ADHD child functions best in a consistent environment, homework should be done in the same place, at the same time and for a set amount of time every day.
- Clear the Clutter at Home: The child's work area should be free of distractions, such as televisions, video games, music and other people.
- Mandatory Homework Time: Establishing a set amount of time to work on homework provides consistency while discouraging the child from rushing through homework. In general, elementary school children should spend about 30 minutes each night on homework. Middle school and high school students should spend about one hour on homework. If the child does not have homework that evening or they finish before the allotted time, the child can read until their mandatory homework time is over.
- "Chunk" Tasks and Schedule Breaks: Long-range tasks are often difficult for the ADHD child. "Chunking" homework helps break the homework into smaller, more manageable pieces. A 20-problem math assignment, for instance, can be broken into four chunks of five problems each, with a small break given between chunks.
- Rewards/Consequences: The ADHD child needs all the rewards they can get, along with firm and consistent consequences. Modest rewards like a treat, special priveledge, earning Gameboy play time or the right to choose a favorite dinner can motivate the child to work toward the goal of completing his homework. Remember to offer intangible rewards like smiles and praise when your child puts the effort into completing his homework. A "way to go" goes a long way in positive reinforcement for Attention Deficit Disorder children. Effective consequences for not completing homework are losing phone, computer, stereo and television privileges for the evening.
- Remain Calm: Once you start yelling, the child has won the homeowrk power struggle. Remain calm and firm yet consistent with consequences. It may take a couple "consequence" days before the child to realize completing homework is better than not doing homework.
- Focus on Effort Instead of Grades: Don't get hung up on the traditional grading scale. Your ADHD child may not be able to receive "A"s on every homework and school assignment. Do make sure to give your ADHD child an "A" for effort. The goal is to develop a solid homework habit. With a homework habit established, better grades will follow.
- Keep Track of Assignments: Using an assignment book helps parents keep track of the child's daily and weekly homework. If the teacher does not use an assignment book, try to develop a system that keeps you informed of your child's homework assignments.

Classroom Tips for Teachers: These tips, though specifically targeted for teaching children with Attention Deficit Disorder, can help all students in school.
- Reduce the Classroom Clutter: Keep classroom ornamentation to a minimum, clear your desk of piles and reduce anything that will take the student’s attention away from the work at hand.
- Reduce Worksheet Clutter: Keep classroom and homework page formats simple. Reducing the clutter on worksheets will work wonders.
- Choose seating arrangements wisely: Back row or middle of the room seating gives ADHD children too many distractions. You should also try to seat ADHDchildren far away from students (friends and enemies alike) that can add to distractions and closer to well-focused students.
- Highlight Succes:Children ADHD are no strangers to scoldings and trouble. Continuing the scoldings and reprimands rarely brings positive results. Instead, highlight the student’s successes. Give the student a smile. Make an effort to show you find value in them. If you put the extra effort into the ADHD child, they will try to return the favor.
- Choose Your Battles: Try not to confront the ADHD child for every little classroom infraction. Separating out the big things from the little will save your voice and patience while saving the ADHD child from constant reprimand.
- Understand the need for movement: If your ADHD student seems exceptionally fidgety, select him to run an errand. Allow this student an extra bathroom break. Suggest that he get up and take a drink of water. Anything that will allow the ADHD student a moment to get the wiggles out and refocus will benefit not only him, but you and the classroom as a whole. Enjoy the peace and quiet while he is away.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Continued Battle on Black Box Warnings

Although it has been nearly two years since antidepressants started carrying a black box warning of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, there's still a disagreement in the medical community about the wisdom behind the action.

Some practitioners think the risks associated with taking antidepressants are overblown and find the black box warnings unnecessary. This group worries that the black box warning might scare away patients may need antidepressants.

On the other hand, people in favor of the warnings believe patients have a right to know of the dangers and are dismayed that doctors continue to treat young children with these chemicals.

Recently, the FDA analyzed 24 antidepressant drug trials involved more than 4,400 children suffereing from major depression, psychiatric disturbances, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The FDA found that thoughts and behaviors turned to death in approximately four out of every 100 children who use antidepressants. The death rate of children taking antidepressants was double the death rate of children taking a placebo. The FDA deemed the doubled risk of death and disturbing behaviors sufficiently enough to order the most serious warning possible.

Antidepressants are proven to increase suicidal behavior. However, some research suggest that antidepressants are not any more effective than a placebo. In fact, antidepressants, when graded by the U.S. Surgeon General in 1999, received the lowest mark of any psychotropic drug used in pediatric patients.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Litigious society or bad drugs?

Over the past six years, more than 65,000 lawsuits have been filed against drugmakers, making the pharmaceutical industry by far the most sued industry. It is my guess that lawsuits against drugmakers will continue increasing given the number of drugs on the market and the number of consumers taking them.

We may be a little lawsuit happy in the states but these numbers are far too high to discount. If you are taking pharmaceutical drugs or considering taking pharmaceutical drugs, please do your due diligence and know the potential side effects.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Breathing Exercises

In a blue mood? Simple breathing exercises can help brighten your day. Although meditation has been the long hailed cure for depression, researchers are now looking at pranayam - a specific set of breathing exercises - to achieve better results.

These breathing exercises bring focus to the mind and emotions. Pranayam have been known as an effective yoga technique for years. Pranayam also has an excellent effect on your nervous system. By giving a boost to the nerves, these breathing exercises clear blockage in the circulatory system or heart.

Yoga experts recommend that you should practice these breathing techniques for 15-20 minutes a day. So, to help keep depression at bay, find a yoga guru and start your day on a healthy note by learning Pranayam breathing exercise techniques.