Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today

Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today
Get an answer from an occupational therapist

Read the full post at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/08/why-so-many-kids-cant-sit-still-in-school-today/

We wanted to run this again for those who’ve missed it. Very good information. Additionally, this article is now further substantiated by recent research published in the journal Pediatrics which says that children who participated in regular physical activity had far better cognitive performance and brain function. The authors, University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman and colleagues say their research, “demonstrate[s] a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health.” Yet, schools cut PE and recess out. Read on…

Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, wrote a blog post for the Washington Post. She asserts that the general trend of more seat work and less physical education and recess could be culprits.

A pediatric occupational therapist says schools keep kids in their chairs far too long.

ADHD ‘Inextricably’ Linked to Substance Abuse

New study says parents beware

Abstract: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/1/e293.abstract

The journal Pediatrics published a study (June 30) which found that children with ADHD are 2 times more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence and more than 2.5 times more likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD). Additionally, ADHD children are twice as likely to develop cocaine abuse or dependence.

Is there any good news? The researchers noted that stimulant medication may reduce the risk for trying drugs and developing an SUD. Prior studies both contradict and confirm this.

The study’s authors warn, “Individuals with co-occurring ADHD and active SUDs require a careful, individual risk/benefit assessment regarding the safety of prescribing a stimulant medication. Longer acting preparations of stimulant medication, the prodrug formulation of dextroamphetamine, and nonstimulant medications for ADHD all have lower abuse potential than short-acting preparations of stimulant medication and, thus, their use should be strongly considered if there is a high risk of misuse, diversion, or abuse of stimulant medications.”

“Misuse and diversion of stimulant medications are more widespread problems than abuse or addiction,” the report states. What is diversion? Diversion is your child not using the medication as prescribed, but rather selling it to someone else.

The report indicates that prior research suggests that between 16% and 23% of school-aged children are approached to sell, buy, or trade their stimulant medication.

Early Risk Factors Between Boys and Girls

New study squashes previous findings
To read more: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_143061.html


If you’ve worried that your pregnancy may have caused ADHD in your child, take a breath of relief. A new study of nearly 13,000 ADHD children finds that low-birth weight, fetal distress, and post-term pregnancy are not factors for ADHD.

And although boys are often diagnosed 2 to 1 over girls (often greater), the researchers say that the risk factors were similar between boys and girls.

Published in December’s online issue of Pediatrics, the study finds that ADHD is very heritable; it is often passed genetically.

Oddly, the researchers did find a correlation to to ADHD when a mother had a urinary tract infection during pregnancy. Other correlations were found if the mother was younger, single, or smoked during pregnancy.

ADHD was more prevalent in mothers who had induced labor. This correlation lacked explanation.

ADHD Children and Bowel Problems

Often noticed but ignored

Read more: http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/news/20131021/kids-with-adhd-often-prone-to-bowel-problems-study

A new study published online Oct. 21st in the journal Pediatrics reveals that ADHD children are significantly more likely to suffer from chronic bowel problems. Does your
child complain of constipation or fecal incontinence? It’s seldom discussed but happens quite frequently. It may be related to ADHD.

Researchers studied more than 700,000 children and found that constipation nearly tripled and fecal incontinence increased six-fold among kids with ADHD. “We also
found that children with ADHD tend to have more visits to see a doctor, suggesting that these children have more severe constipation and fecal incontinence than other
children,” said lead researcher Dr. Cade Nylund, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Could it be related to their meds? The researchers found that ADHD meds did not seem to affect the number of office visits for these bowel problems.The study was based in the United States. It notes that common issues in ADHD children such as hyperactivity, behavioral control issues, and problems focusing attention at will may be related to the increased risk for bathroom problems.

“Kids with ADHD may not respond properly to physical cues to go to the bathroom,” Nylund said. “They may have difficulty interrupting other or more desirable tasks they wish to engage in at that time.”

Fecal incontinence is a more severe form of constipation, Nylund said. “What happens is, kids have constipation for several years and then they lose normal cues to go
to the bathroom entirely. Then … they just overflow and leak into their underwear.” Parents who notice that their child is suffering from constipation should see their pediatrician, Nylund said. In addition, parents can prevent constipation by increasing fiber in their child’s diet, he said. “Parents need to be aware that this risk exists and hopefully prevent constipation from occurring,” Nylund said.

You can help your child by adding fiber rich foods to their diet including fruits and vegetables. Setting a regular schedule of bathroom times such as bedtime, before going to school, or going on a trip can be helpful. Asking your child’s teacher to make the restroom accessible at specific times may help too.

Strong Parental Goals & The ADHD Child

You can make a big difference

Read the full article: http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-news-50/parents-goals-guide-adhd-treatment-choice-679759.html

A study published in the September 2 issue of Pediatrics reports that parents who set strong goals for their ADHD children can greatly influence outcomes. The study’s lead author, Alexander G. Fiks, M.D., of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, proposes that parents share decision making with their doctors.

Fiks found that parents most concerned with behavioral improvement were more likely to implement behavioral therapy. Parents who were more concerned with academic
achievement were twice as likely to start their children on medication.

“The results of our study highlight the importance of parents’ priorities for their child–improved academic achievement, behavior or interpersonal relationships–in determining what treatment they ultimately choose for their child’s ADHD,” Fiks told 2 Minute Medicine™. Fiks advised parents to have their pediatricians describe all their treatment options including both the positive and negative aspects of each treatment.

This study reveals the current culture of ADHD; if we want to improve grades, we offer medication which has consistently been shown not to improve academic outcomes over the long-term. It frequently does improve grades near term.

Behavioral therapy is always a good course of action, but it does not address cognitive skills that will insure success at school, home, and with friends.

Play Attention addresses cognitive skills, behavioral shaping, and attention training. 800.788.6786

Video Game Addiction in ADHD Boys More Likely

Autistic boys too

Read the full article: http://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/0729/video-game-addiction-more-likely-with-autism.aspx?xid=alltop_rss

Research published in the online July 29 issue of Pediatrics reports that “Children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and those with ADHD may be at particularly high risk for significant problems related to video game play, including excessive and problematic video game use.”

Here’s what the researchers found:

*Boys with ADHD were also more likely to spend more time playing video games than other kids.

*More children with autism and ADHD had video game systems in their bedrooms than did typically developing boys.

*Boys with autism were also more likely to play role-playing games.

*Autistic boys played video games twice as long as non-autistic boys, 2.1 hours a day compared with 1.2 hours a day.

This confirms prior research. Other prior research suggests that many video games reduce attention spans, promote impulsive behavior, increase the likelihood of obesity, and greatly reduce social interaction.

It is safe to say that video game usage should be kept to a minimum. Use it as a reward system and not as a two to four hour entertainment system. Its use should be considered dessert (think small portions) and not the main course.

ADHD Is Linked to Adult Obesity

Research published in the journal Pediatrics
reports that boys who are diagnosed with ADHD are twice as likely to become obese adults.

Study co-author, Dr. Francisco Xavier Castellanos

Read the full article: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/05/15/peds.2012-0540.abstract?sid=e4c6be00-0665-4fce-bd7c-ee3c8d183bbd

The international study involved researchers from New York, Mexico, and Verona and spanned over 30 years. They followed 207 Caucasian boys diagnosed with childhood ADHD. Starting at an average age of about 8, they were interviewed at ages 18-25 and finally at age 41. At age 18, 178 boys without ADHD were recruited for the study.

The researchers found that at age 41, the men who had ADHD weighed an average of 213 pounds with 41 percent of them deemed obese. The non-ADHD group averaged 194 pounds, with only 22 percent deemed obese. The men with childhood ADHD tended to have a higher body-mass index (BMI) and obesity, even if they no longer had ADHD symptoms. Additionally, socioeconomics made no difference; wealthy or poor, they tended toward obesity.

Study co-author, Dr. Francisco Xavier Castellanos, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry in the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center said, “The bottom line is, boys who were hyperactive when followed up for more than 30 years turn out to be more likely to be obese than comparable kids from their same communities.”

The authors could not determine why adult obesity followed a childhood ADHD diagnosis. Some theories:

* With our current understanding of dopamine and ADHD (see prior submission), ADHD children may be trying to increase dopamine levels through food intake.

* Poor impulse control and poor planning skills are frequently associated with ADHD. This could lead to food choices and poor eating habits. Impulse control may also contribute to overeating.

Is It ADHD or Sleep Deprivation?

A scientist makes a connection

From the NY TIMES

Read the full article: https://www.google.com/search?q=Is+It+ADHD+or+Sleep+Deprivation%3F%2C+NY+times&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
“We all get less sleep than we used to. The number of adults who reported sleeping fewer than seven hours each night went from some 2 percent in 1960 to more than 35 percent in 2011. Sleep is even more crucial for children, who need delta sleep — the deep, rejuvenating, slow-wave kind — for proper growth and development. Yet today’s youngsters sleep more than an hour less than they did a hundred years ago. And for all ages, contemporary daytime activities — marked by nonstop 14-hour schedules and inescapable melatonin-inhibiting iDevices — often impair sleep. It might just be a coincidence, but this sleep-restricting lifestyle began getting more extreme in the 1990s, the decade with the explosion in A.D.H.D. diagnoses. …

“One study, published in 2004 in the journal Sleep, looked at 34 children with A.D.H.D. Every one of them showed a deficit of delta sleep, compared with only a handful of the 32 control subjects.

“A 2006 study in the journal Pediatrics showed something similar, from the perspective of a surgery clinic. This study included 105 children between ages 5 and 12. Seventy-eight of them were scheduled to have their tonsils removed because they had problems breathing in their sleep, while 27 children scheduled for other operations served as a control group. Researchers measured the participants’ sleep patterns and tested for hyperactivity and inattentiveness, consistent with standard protocols for validating an A.D.H.D. diagnosis.”

Sleep, like diet, may be a contributor to ADHD symptoms. It would be wise to monitor sleep habits as it is wise to monitor a healthy diet.

Can Reducing Plate Size Affect Obesity in Children?

A surprisingly good parenting tip

Full article from TIME magazine: http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/08/size-matters-smaller-dishes-could-cut-childhood-obesity/
A study published in the journal Pediatrics discloses that Temple University researchers reduced the calories children consumed just by giving them smaller plates.

Childhood obesity is rampant in the US. We super-size everything. However, the incidence of diabetes and heart disease among children has increased dramatically with increasing rates of obesity.

Since prior studies found that adults using smaller bowls and spoons helped diminish food intake, the Temple scientists decided to investigate if using smaller plates helped fight the growing problem with childhood obesity.

The researchers found that when given adult-size dinner plates, the children served themselves larger portions of food. The larger portions resulted in nearly 50 percent of the extra calories they had put on their plates. According to the study, 80 percent of the kids served themselves 90 calories more at lunch when using the adult-sized plates.

“This provides new evidence that children’s self-served portion sizes are influenced by size-related facets of their eating environments, which, in turn, may influence children’s energy intake,” the authors wrote in the Pediatrics.

As the famous chef Julia Child (who lived to be 92 eating highly calorie food) noted, it’s all about portion control and moderation.

Full article from TIME magazine: http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/08/size-matters-smaller-dishes-could-cut-childhood-obesity/

Size Matters: Smaller Dishes Could Cut Childhood Obesity | TIME.com

Is ADHD all in your head?

A study published in the June 14 edition of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics has sparked controversy regarding ADHD medication and the brain’s power to regulate itself.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by Dr. Adrian Sandler, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and medical director of the Olson Huff Center for Child Development at Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.  The research was performed over the course of eight years using 99 patients from Western North Carolina.

Sandler found that children with ADHD can do just as well on half their medication when the medication is combined with a placebo. They performed as well even when parents and children had full knowledge they were taking a placebo.

[Placebo –  A substance containing no medication and prescribed or given to reinforce a patient’s expectation to get well. The placebo in this research was akin to a harmless inert pill].

Previous studies have shown that common stimulant medication causes side-effects like tics, weight loss, stunted growth, and even heart complications in some instances. This often causes trepidation in parents afraid of the possible side-effects on their children.

Sandler compared fully medicated children, children on reduced medication, and children on reduced medication with a known placebo. The results were quite intriguing.  Both the fully medicated and reduced medication groups had increased side-effects while the reduced medication with placebo demonstrated decreased side-effects. Furthermore, the reduced medication group reported decreased control of their ADHD symptoms. However, the control of ADHD symptoms was no different in the reduced medication with placebo group than in the full dose group, i.e. the reduced medication with placebo performed as well as the fully medicated group with less side-effects as well.

“I’ve been getting a lot of calls and e-mails,” said Sandler,, who conducted the research with James Bodfish, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and pediatrics at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and study coordinator Corrine Glesne.

“Medications work,” Bodfish said in a statement. “The question is whether we always need to use them at the highest dose. Many parents are concerned about placing their child on medication. Some choose not to treat their child because of concerns about side effects.”

While the research doesn’t address it, the obvious question is, Why? Parents and children in this study knew they were taking a placebo. Why then did they perform as well as their peers without the side-effects — at essentially half the dose as their peers? While the placebo effect has been studied widely, the exact mechanisms are unknown. We do know that the mechanism is governed by the brain. This clearly tells us that having ADHD or not, our brain is still a powerful weapon in our arsenal.

We also cannot exclude the influence of the parents during this research. Did they expect their child to do better? The authors suggest that this was so. This dynamic cannot be overlooked in your family either.

The bottom line is that we likely have far more control over our behaviors and cognitive processes than we are given credit for. Modern medicine, as this research suggests, is just beginning to understand the brain’s role in shaping our lives. We’ve known this for years at Play Attention. Cognitive training. Memory training. Motor skills. Attention training. Behavioral shaping. It’s time to take control over our lives. We’ve all got the power to do it. It lies right behind our eyes.