Tag Archives: kids

The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic

Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine section this week entitled, The Not So Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic. 

images-2Recently people who were prescribed low dose, generic medications, used to treat A.D.H.D., found that the drugs they used to were hard to find.  Because the number of diagnoses of A.D.D./A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has increased in both children and adults, the demand was greater than the supply. Ms. Koerth-Baker writes:

“Between the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012, people across the United States suddenly found themselves unable to get their hands on A.D.H.D. medication. Low-dose generics were particularly in short supply.” Koerth-Baker goes on to write, “The number of diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has ballooned over the past few decades. Before the early 1990s, fewer than 5 percent of school-age kids were thought to have A.D.H.D. Earlier this year, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 had at some point received the diagnosis — and that doesn’t even include first-time diagnoses in adults.”

UnknownThe article mentions that rates of A.D.D./A.D.H.D. vary not only by state but by country as well. A study that compares the number of children with the diagnosis in this country as compared to those in Britain, shows that “In 2003, when nearly 8 percent of American kids had been given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D., only about 2 percent of children in Britain had. According to the British National Health Service, the estimate of kids affected by A.D.H.D. there is now as high as 5 percent.”

images-3Peter Conrad who is a leading researcher in the spread of A.D.H.D. diagnosis rates, believes that the difference lies in the definition. In this country, we use the D.S.M. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). In Europe, the I.C.D. (International Classification of Diseases) is used and their guidelines are “much stricter” for diagnoses.

Another reason for the increased diagnosis in children from this country is due to the fact that “American childhood drastically changed. Even at the grade-school level, kids now have more homework, less recess and a lot less unstructured free time to relax and play.” When kids are unable to move their bodies or use their brains to play and not work, they are unable to relax and thrive. One way to help kids do this, is to allow more time for unstructured amusements, including making art- painting, drawing, imagining, etc…

images-4Another way to calm over stimulated minds and bodies so that they can grow and flourish is by having neurofeedback training. The system I use, NeurOptimal®, trains the brain to be more flexible and to perform optimally. To learn more about NeurOptimal®, click on the link. To discuss how neurofeedback can help you or your child feel calmer, more focused and relaxed, contact me, here.

Traumatic Brain Injuries in Teens Are More Common Than We Think

A recent study from Canada, by Dr. Gabriela Ilie, shows that one in five students suffer from concussions fragile growing brain(the most common form of traumatic brain injuries). That is a staggeringly large population. The paper goes on to note that this one of the first studies to focus on traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in adolescents. The story source was found in JAMA.

The incidence of TBI is more common than was assumed, as head injuries are not always reported. It seems common that teens will hurt their heads during a sporting event or simply from playing sports injury to headand falling but adults do not always seek medical attention for them. Perhaps the student feels better quickly and tells the adults that they are making too much of the situation and perhaps the adult erroneously thinks that the child is fine. If the child seems better, why would the adult take the child to the doctor or worse a hospital where the wait can seem endless? Hopefully, studies like these will have greater influence on the reactions of the adults.

The problem is that concussions can have long-term effects. The adolescent brain is still developing and the risk of another concussion seems to be more probable than it is for those who have images-1not had a TBI in the past. Successive concussions can create problems including, “lasting cognitive impairment, substance use, mental health and physical health harms. But, Traumatic brain injury is preventable,” said Dr. Ilie. “If we know who is more vulnerable, when and how these injuries are occurring, we can talk to students, coaches, and parents about it. We can take preventive action and find viable solutions to reduce their occurrence and long-term effects.”

One of the many wonderful ways that neurofeedback can help is in the treating of TBI. In an article called, Neurofeedback Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury, by D. Corydon Hammond, Ph. D., ECNS, QEEG-D, BCIA-EED; he writes that “Neurofeedback research has documented its value in the treatment of a variety of symptoms relevant to a brain injury population, including seizures, memory, concentration and attention, unstable mood, impulsiveness, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and even anosmia and physical balance. Preliminary research on neurofeedback treatment of TBI is very encouraging, but certainly more rigorous research is needed. child receiving nfThe accumulating work on neurofeedback led Frank H. Duffy, M.D., a Professor and Pediatric Neurologist at Harvard Medical School, to state in an editorial in the January 2000 issue of the journal Clinical Electroencephalography that scholarly literature now suggests that neurofeedback “should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used: (p. v). “It is a field to be taken seriously by all” (p. vii).”

To learn more about neurofeedback and how it can help with traumatic brain injuries, contact me.