3/31/13 New York Times Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children LINK: Rate of ADHD Diagnosis in Children The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 41 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis “Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored,” said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.” And even more teenagers are likely to be prescribed medication in the near future because the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D. to allow more people to receive the diagnosis and treatment. A.D.H.D. is described by most experts as resulting from abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person’s impulse control and attention skills.

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Posted in Medical News By Terri Mykland

Gut-brain Connection no longer "Crazy Talk": AAP

November 27, 2012 12:23:06 PM PST

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just taken a giant leap toward recognizing the association between gastrointestinal problems and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD.)

The November 2012 issue of their journal, Pediatrics, has a 200-page supplement entitled Improving Health Care for Children and Youth With Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders.  As I perused the various articles to see what the AAP was up to, one particular gem caught my eye: Gastrointestinal (GI) Conditions in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Developing a Research Agenda...

After a mere three sentences, my jaw dropped.

“Many individuals with ASDs have symptoms of associated medical conditions, including seizures, sleep problems, metabolic conditions, and gastrointestinal disorders (the italics are mine), which have significant health, developmental, social, and educational impacts.” A few lines later I found there is a “lack of recognition by clinicians that certain behavioral manifestations in children with ASDs are indicators of GI problems (eg, pain, discomfort, or nausea).”

My first thought was that someone from ARI or MAPS had snuck into the AAP and switched a few words in the article before it went to press, and no one had noticed. But as I read the entire piece, I was shocked to see other crazy ideas such as...

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Posted in Medical News By Terri Mykland

Early Therapy can change brains of kids with autism

November 5, 2012 2:30:50 PM PST

As the number of children with autism has risen dramatically over the past couple of decades, experts have learned that the earlier a child gets diagnosed, the earlier specialized therapy can be initiated, which can significantly improve outcomes.

Now researchers have been able to show that a particular type of behavioral therapy called the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) not only improves autism symptoms, but actually normalizes brain activity and improves social behavior.

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Posted in Medical News By Terri Mykland