Posting in Government
Research into ADHD and related conditions, like Asperger's Syndrome, is still focused on chemistry rather than genetics.
With the formal retraction of a 1998 paper claiming ADHD was chemical in origin, related specifically to mercury in kids' vaccines, it may surprise you to know that research into this and related conditions, like Asperger's Syndrome, is still focused on chemistry rather than genetics.
I have long had a personal stake in this. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 1964, my son in 1997. I learned of my diagnosis that same year. A few years ago I described it as like having Robin Williams (right) in your head.
Williams' brilliance, and that of other ADHD sufferers, is exceeded only by that of the Asperger's Syndrome cohort, which is now said to include Albert Einstein. If you have these conditions in your family, in other words, you may have a hard road, but at least it's brightly lit.
Instead of linking the ADHD spectrum to mercury in vaccines, as Andrew Wakefield did, the new culprit is lead in paint. Among kids susceptible to the condition, it is thought, lead in old paint could be a trigger.
Chemistry is not just the suspect in causing ADHD, but in tracing it and, perhaps treating it. While current approaches focus on syncing mind to body by speeding-up the body -- Ritalin and Adderall are stimulants -- new research is focusing on stress hormones like cortisol, newly implicated in Asperger's, and on other stress hormones.
Synchronizing medication to the body's rhythms would dramatically change treatment. But timing a drug to the rhythms of daily life, and expected stress, will be difficult.
So how are our hormones getting out of whack? New research into brain structure may provide an answer.
Now researchers in Spain and Israel have isolated that part of the brain, which governs the risk-reward system, that is underdeveloped in ADHD kids.
What this tells me is that while science does make mistakes, and scientists do as well, trends move in one direction. When it comes to ADHD and Asperger's (which I like to call graduate-level ADHD) that direction is chemical.
Feb 3, 2010
I am diagnosed ADD, my husband is diagnosed ADD, neither of us were diagnosed until our 6 year old son was 2 years ago. We also have twins who recently were diagnosed, one Autistic and one ADD. The only one who hasn't been diagnosed is our daughter, who is a replica of me at 9, and the family dog. We could probably trace it back through the generations, but that really doesn't help us get through the days.
Uh, no. There are no studies that have been done linking ADHD to either chiropractic care or food flavorings. "I think" is no substitute for science. Find someone to do a study on anything you like, but don't just make wild guesses and expect that to drive policy, or anyone else's decision-making.
One of the other things that may contribute to ADHD is spinal trauma. They've done some studies of children that go to chiropractors after birth. Something else that I think has a lot to do with it is the quality of our foods, and all of the un-necessary additives that they put in them. We have so many dyes in our foods (many of which are known triggers to ADHD), sugar is bleached (and chemically altered in the process), juice these days is more artificial flavor then it is juice... among other things. I'd much rather have healthy and *natural* food than food that looks pretty. It's going to be ground up into paste and not seen soon anyway. And I also mean natural in the common sense definition, not the definition companies use.
For those with a propensity toward ADHD it is thought that lead exposure may trigger the effect. Not that lead causes ADHD in everyone, but that people likely to act that way eat lead and the gene switches on.
just as an alcoholic has a gene that bias' him toward alcoholism I feel it's fairly probable that there is a gene for ADHD as it seems to run in families. I think pawning it off on lead is pretty immature, exposure to heavy metals is common, but the effects are fairly well known. I think, more likely, it has to do with the chemicals produced in the brain due to stimuli at a young age. Either genetically you brain produces to much "good-feelers" or a child is over stimulated creating an abundance of "good-feelers". Personally I feel ADHD is a blessing, but it can be a cumbersome one. Research on how to control it's effects, and then implementing them in schools (instead of stimulant drugs) I feel would go a long way to forming productive individuals.
of course chemistry is fundamental to these and other diseases. what do you think dna, genes, and chromosomes are? it is all chemistry. our body is one big chemical factory running tens of thousands of chemical reactions constantly. as far as the rise of autism and adhd and some other disorders, we are living in an educsted, hysterical, and frightened country in which everyone believes that he can see the symptoms for diseases for which there is no clear diagnosis, i suspect were we ever to get a definitive test for autism, the rate would decrease dramatically, except among the 'i know better that you what is wrong with my child' crowd.
The link in the next-to-last paragraph, to a ScienceDaily site, goes to a great current article on the current work on ADHD, and includes many fascinating links to similar work. Dana, you get my heartfelt thanks for dealing with ADHD fairly and honestly. Even today it's a rare occurence. I was diagnosed in my mid-40s, in the midst of a frenetic life of roller-coaster extremes. It wasn't by any stretch a 'cure', but at least gave me a cognitive framework to begin understanding myself and my world. Your contributions are more worthwhile than you might imagine, for me and I'm certain for many. Please continue.
I don't understand why "they" are afraid to pursue the genetics avenue. My family was able to have diagnosed our ADD through 4 generations, and we think we know where it came from for a generation or two before that. I've never met a credible ADD'er that didn't have a parent with the same symptoms--and I know a lot of them.
Asperger?s Syndrome is one end or, or part of, the autism spectrum. My wife, a school speech pathologist, works with children with autism, ADHD, and other conditions. She has long contended, based on her observations of children and their parents, that the parents often exhibited behaviors somehwat like autistic behaviors such as social interaction, speaking, etc. She also noted that in many cases, these were highly educated people such as engineers or doctors. Now, a recent study has indicated that the more highly educated a person is, the more likely they are to have children diagnosed with autism. The link below points to an article about the study, not the study itself. While having an advanced degree, or being very smart, does not mean that your child will have autism, I believe that people with certain personality traits may also be among those who do well in math, science, etc. I also believe that marriage trends may play a part as people might be more inclined than in the past to marry a person of similar personality or someone they work with. Joining similar genetic traits might reinforce thsoe traits that contribute to autism and other such disorders. http://news.discovery.com/human/autism-clusters-college-education-parents.html?campaign=w01-101-ae-0002
Dana himself has stated he and his son have ADHD. I have ADD (the non-hyperactive form of ADHD), and I have a daughter and a brother who are ADHD. I still believe in the genetic component for several reasons. 1) All too frequently it runs in families; 2) The prevelence is twice as common in America as it is in Europe. What does statement #2 have to do with genetics? ADD/ADHD people are much more likely to be impulsive. Guess what kind of people were more likely to go to the new world? The impulsive kind! Ergo, the ADD/ADHD gene diminished in a per capita basis on Europe while it was concentrated in the new world.
Lead paint? My kid has been diagnosed as ADHD and yet has never been near lead paint as far as I know. Maybe that's one cause but I doubt it's the only one.