What is the basis of ADHD treatment?

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Offline thedoc

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What is the basis of ADHD treatment?
« on: 13/08/2013 10:30:02 »
Hope S Guajardo Guajardo  asked the Naked Scientists:
I enjoyed your podcast on ADHD, but have some differences of opinion. I've been a teacher for seventeen years, have had three traumatic brain injuries which altered my cognition and behavior, and am a licensed (though not practicing) practitioner of neurofeedback.

When the question of food arose, the answer was rather evasive, with mere lip service given to omega 3 fatty acids but no recommendation that they be tried. I think you might recommend that parents or doctors give them a try since there are many benefits to omega 3's and few if any reasons not to try them. Also, wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels can bring on seizure activities. If that is true, don't you think that sugar could be one of the culprits? Have you seen what children eat? You might be horrified. Also, artificial colors and flavors have been implicated in behavior problems, as have food sensitivities to such things as gluten, casein, lactose, etc. Have you seen what is in the food that children consume?

What was glaringly absent from your discussion was the therapy known as neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback. You mentioned that one advantage that ADHD children might have is creativity. The brain wave frequency most associated with creativity is Theta, which predominates when a person is drowsy. Ritalin and other pharmaceuticals stimulate the brain out of theta. But children can learn to self-regulate and produce increased alpha and low range beta waves by training with a neurofeedback professional. Executive function and mood swings are also subject to improvement from this therapy. I know from experience because my last concussion occurred during the time when I was interning with a psychologist, learning how to train children with EEG biofeedback. My frequencies went off the screen after the injury, and I worked for a summer to bring my theta within healthy range.

You referenced ADHD and its possible connection to criminal behaviour later in life. There is a practitioner in Canada who trains prison inmates to SMR (sensory motor rhythm - the best of Beta), I believe on the theory that many or even most criminals have suffered brain trauma that disrupted normal brain function.

One question asked on your program was about computer games, and it was answered as though it were an extrinsic reward. Perhaps the questioner was referring to neurofeedback which is often delivered via computer games. One sets the desired level of theta and even high beta (associated with anxiety), usually at a level slightly below what the patient is producing, and when the patient reaches that level, the computer game speeds up to normal pace. When not suppressing theta (or high beta) the game slows down. EEG Spectrum is a company that you should look into if you care to pursue this topic.

You also made reference to the fact that ADHD is often just one of several diagnoses. The hyperactivity is often accompanied by oppositional defiant disorder, so when the child is 'hyper', it is often with a vengeance. A class of twenty students might have two or three students with ADHD, and their failure to learn is but a small part of the problem. I had a student climb onto desk tops and jump from one to the other, coming up to show an answer on the board. When I asked him never to do that again, he dropped to the floor and crawled under all the desks to get to the front of the room. When I told him to walk around the desks next time (should this even be necessary?) he proceeded to march around the room, bumping into things. This year he is evidently on meds, and sits slumped over, rarely even speaking. I have another student with an ADHD diagnosis, and meds didn't agree with him. He sits on the floor, throwing and catching his shoe, or on a chair,
 rocking back and forth and throwing a book. I teach Spanish and he is moving to Argentina, but he has learned almost nothing. He is known to be very intelligent, but his Spanish name is Teo, which he persists in spelling Tao (maybe he's secretly a Chinese philosopher). All he wants to know is when to put an accent mark over a letter. His actions and demands are so repetitive. They tested him for autism but decided he didn't have Asperger's. I want so much to tell his mother to have him evaluated by a neurofeedback provider and tested for food sensitivities, but as a teacher I am not even supposed to mention alternative therapies, even though the current medical therapy has been dropped in his case.

As for children paying more attention to TV and video games than to teachers, one might question the current practice of pushing abstract curricular content into lower grades where children are primarily concrete operational. Also, kids are expected to sit still for extended parts of the day. So 'raising the bar' has something to do with a general squirmy tendency with most students.

Hope Guajardo

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 13/08/2013 10:30:02 by _system »