Archive for March, 2011

ADHD, depression and suicidal thoughts

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 by admin

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a highly prevalentdisorder, affecting approximately 4.4 million children in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  ADHD is often characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity.  A study from the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh suggests these traits may make children with ADHD more susceptible to depression and suicidal thoughts as young adults. This study was also reported by CNN.A long-term study published in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry indicates that children diagnosed with ADHD between ages 4 and 6 “are more likely to suffer from depression as adolescents than those who did not have ADHD at that age” (Science Daily).  The inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity so commonly identified in children with ADHD may “cause poor performance in school, difficulties in social situations and a loss of confidence and self esteem.”

The study followed 123 children diagnosed with ADHD at age 4 to 6 for up to 14 years, until they reached ages 18 to 20.  It compared them with 119 children from similar neighborhoods and schools, matched for age, sex and ethnicity.  The children were assessed annually in study years 1 through 4, 6 through 9 and 12 through 14. (Science Daily)

Eighteen percent of the children diagnosed with ADHD at a young age suffered depression as adolescents.  This figure is approximately 10 times the rate of that found in adolescents without ADHD.  Kids with ADHD were also five times more likely to have considered suicide at least one time, and twice as likely to have made an attempt (Science Daily).

Benjamin Lahey, Ph.D., a professor of health sciences and psychiatry at the University of Chicago, cautioned, “Suicide attempts were relatively rare, even in the study group.  Parents should keep in mind that more than 80 percent of the children with ADHD did not attempt suicide and not one in this study committed suicide.”

Nonetheless, the study indicates that parents of children that are diagnosed with ADHD at a young age should be keenly aware of their child’s emotional state.  Additionally, “children with inattention or combined subtype were at greater risk for depression.  Those with combined type or hyperactivity were at greater risk for suicidal thoughts.” Children with more complicated ADHD were more likely to be depressed and/or have suicidal thoughts than were children with less complicated ADHD.  Complication refers to the extensiveness of ADHD’s prevalence, whether or not children suffered from anxiety, displayed oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder symptoms. Although more boys than girls have ADHD, “being female increased the risk for depression.”  So, too, did having a mother who had suffered from depression.

Unfortunately, Brainjogging has witnessed the tolls of ADHD and depression on some of its own students.  Brainjogging, however, counteracts depression and enhances impulse control in individuals with ADHD.  Brainjogging is a viable solution to ADHD and related depression.

Brainjogging supports Brain Awareness Week

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 by admin

At a recent physical and mental health fair in LaGrange, Georgia, Brainjogging team members raised awareness for Brainjogging's cognitive processing software and for the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives' Brain Awareness Week.

The Alliance’s next BAW week will be March 12-18, 2011.  Please visit visit the Dana Foundation’s Brain Awareness Week website to access free publications and resources on neurological research, as well as information on Brain Awareness Week.

Each March, the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives sponsors Brain Awareness Week (BAW) to promote awareness of brain research and its incredible benefits.  Over 300 neuroscientists, 10 of whom are Nobel laureates, comprise the Dana Alliance fro Brain Initiatives.  The Alliance was established as an affiliate of the Dana Foundation, an organization dedicated to conducting brain research and distributing it internationally.  Both the Dana Foundation and the Alliance for Brain Initiatives are on the forefront of brain research, and serve as a liaison between neuroscientists and the public.

Brain research helps neuroscientists to understand and interpret not only human behavior and understanding but also brain disorders and injuries.  Because of neuroscientific research, scientists know how neurological disorders work — and how to accommodate them.  This is important in the diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities.  Neurological research has shown that dyslexia affects the V5MT area of the brain and that Wernicke’s area is important in the development of language.

Camp Academia, Inc.’s Brainjogging® program is based on over three decades of brain research.  Organizations like the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives receive grants for clinical and laboratory research, allowing their neuroscientists to conduct studies and disseminate their results to BAW partners like Camp Academia, INC.

Sports lead to happy, healthy young adults

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 by admin

Dr. Keith Zulling and Rebecca White from West Virginia University found that “taking part in sports is good all around for young teens: physically, socially and mentally” (Science Daily).  Zulling and White studied middle-school teenagers and found that those “who are physically active and play on sports teams are more satisfied with their life and feel healthier” than other teens.

The study sought to explain the link between physical activity, specifically participation on sports teams; life satisfaction; and self-rated health concurrently.  Participants included 245 middle school students in seventh and eighth grade and between the ages of 12 and 14 years.  Boys and girls were included in the study.  Participants completed questionnaires that assessed “their physical activity levels, their overall satisfaction with life and [asked] them to describe their own health.”

The study compared vigorous physical activity, completed within the last week, to participation on a sports team.  Boys did not indicate that participating in vigorous activity in the last week had an effect on their life satisfaction or self-rated health.  Girls that participated in vigorous physical activity within the past week, on the other hand, were “significantly more satisfied with their life compared to girls who had not.”  However, the participation in vigorous activity did not affect girls’ impression of their self-rated health.

Playing on a sports team, though, “was linked to higher life satisfaction in both boys and girls.”  Boys “were five times more likely, and girls 30 times more likely, to describe their health as fair/poor when they were not playing on a sports team.”

Participation on a sports team not only promotes physical activity but also influences young adults’ impression of their life satisfaction.  Sports teams also allow young adults access to a social network they may be more keenly aware of missing if not on a sports team.

Hand movements in children with ADHD may predict severity of disorder

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by admin

Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center recently conducted two studies, both of which were published in the February issue of Neurobiology, on the ability of children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to control impulsive movements.In the first study, “children with ADHD performed a finger-tapping task” (Science Daily).  Unintentional “overflow,” or movements occurring on the opposite hand, were noted using video and a device that records finger position.  Mirror overflow is “defined as unintentional and unnecessary movements occurring in the same muscles on the opposite side of the body.” The study included fifty participants, 25 with ADHD and 25 typically developing children, ages 8-12 years.  All subjects completed five sequential finger-tapping tests on each hand.  Children tapped each finger to their thumb of the same hand.  Children alternated tapping hands between the left and the right.  When children with ADHD completed left-handed finger-tapping tasks, they demonstrated twice as much mirror overflow as typically developing children.    Boys with ADHD showed almost four times as much mirror overflow as typically developing peers.

Dr. Stewart Mostofsky, the study’s senior author and Director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive and Imaging Research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, stated, “This study used quantitative measures to support past qualitative findings that motor overflow persists to a greater degree in children with ADHD then in typically developing peers.  The findings reveal that even at an unconscious level, these children are struggling with controlling and inhibiting unwanted actions and behavior.”

In the second study, researchers further examined ADHD “be measuring activity within the motor cortex, the part of the brain that controls voluntary movement.” Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), researchers applied “mild magnetic pulses for brief durations to trigger muscle activity in the hand, causing hand twitches.”  Researchers applied single or double pulses in 60 trials and measured the corresponding brain activity, called short interval cortical inhibition (SICI).  Children with ADHD demonstrated “a substantial decrease in SICI, with significantly less inhibition of motor activity during the paired pulse stimulation compared to typically developing children.”  Children with ADHD showed 40 percent less inhibition control than their typically developing peers.  Additionally, children with ADHD with “less motor inhibition (decreased SICI) correlated with more severe symptoms.”  Measures of SICI predicted motor impairment in children with ADHD and predicted behavioral symptoms as substantiated by parents.  Researchers believe SICI “may be a critical biomarker for ADHD.”

*WebMD also posted an article about this study.

Katie Cyphers has the opportunity to dine with Dr. Larry Silver

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 by Regina

Brainjogging's Katie Cyphers with Dr. Larry Silver, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and Past-President of LDA.

As you may have noticed, Katie Cyphers has been missing in action for the last week! Not to fear, she has been busy gathering information and immersing herself in the latest research on learning disabilities at the Learning Disabilities Association of America National Conference. This year’s conference was held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.

During the conference, Katie had the pleasure of dining with Dr. Larry Silver. Dr. Silver is the author of more than 150 publications, including The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child’s Learning Disabilities. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C.. Dr. Silver is extremely active with the Learning Disabilities Association of America and is a Past-President of this organization. He has received several awards for his contributions to the study and treatment of learning disabilities, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Berman Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Silver has also received LDA’s highest award for outstanding leadership in the field of learning disabilities. He serves on the Professional Advisory Board for LDA.

What an amazing experience to spend time with one of the leading researchers in the field of learning disabilities! Dr. Silver was friends with Dr. Samuel Kirk, the father of learning disabilities.  If you have not done so already, we encourage you to join the Learning Disabilities Association of America. Together, we can help reduce the incidence of learning disabilities in future generations.