ADHDchildren

Archive for November 2010

Get ready for many pieces of the puzzle to be connected in the information below:

1.  The ADHD brain is the next evolution of the human brain.

Did you know that an estimated 5-10% of children ages 6-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD?  According to statistics, 2.5 million or more children in the United States alone are on drugs to manage their symptoms.  ADHD is also on the rise all around the world.  Why are the numbers so high and constantly increasing?  Why do so many children have a brain that is different and labeled as ADHD?  Have you ever asked these questions?

With 5-10% of the youth population of the U.S. diagnosed with an ADHD brain, not including adults with ADHD, it has reached critical mass or the tipping point.  In his book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell states that a tipping point is “the level at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.”

It is said we currently live in the Information Age and some say we are moving into the Attention Age.  Multi-tasking has been adopted as a way of coping to try to keep up with all that is going on around us and in our busy lives.  By multi-tasking, an entire population is trying to adapt and do what the ADHD brain does naturally.  However, medical studies now tell us that multi-tasking creates damage in the human brain.

Since the time of the caveman, the human brain has gone through many stages of progression.  It would be unwise to believe we have already reached the pinnacle of evolution in our current state.

Did you know that Albert Einstein had ADHD and Aspergers?  He didn’t speak until around the age of six.  One of Albert’s elementary school teachers told his father that “It doesn’t matter what he does because he will never amount to anything.”  Do multiple diagnoses and low expectations from those who do not understand sound familiar?  The good news is that we all know the story and contributions of Albert Einstein.  Every child with ADHD has great potential if we choose to view this as an opportunity rather than a disorder.

Natural solutions from food and nutritional sources have been used to successfully manage the symptoms of ADHD for over 30 years.

2.    Epigenetics explains the cause of ADHD symptoms.

From a scientific perspective, the cause of ADHD has been investigated without a definitive answer.  Many theories abound from genetics and heredity, epigenetics, head trauma or toxic exposure.  While the ADHD brain is the new brain that can handle the speed of life as we have now come to know it, the symptoms attributed to ADHD, I believe, are caused by the human epigenome.

3.    Scientists in the field of epigenetics have found that we are what we eat and so are our children and their children.

Epigenetics is the study of the epigenome.  Epigenetics focuses on heritable changes that occur but do not alter DNA or the genome.  DNA is the main component of chromosomes and is the material that transfers genetic characteristics.  The genome is a full set of chromosomes; all the inheritable traits.  Said differently, epigenetics is the study of that which can be inherited but does not come from DNA or the genome.

Epigenetics literally translates to “above the genome”.  Above the genome is a layer of chemicals (histones and methyl groups) that attach to the genome and change the way it expresses in the body.  The epigenome tells the genome what kind of cells to be – essentially when to work, how to work and how much work to do.

Everyone has an epigenome and it tells cells how to operate.  An issue arises when the chemicals in the epigenome restrict or change the healthy function of cells or the genome.  A “problematic” epigenome can be inherited; created during critical life changes such as puberty, pregnancy or trauma; or develop through one’s lifestyle (toxic foods, toxic exposure, etc.).  The good news is that the epigenome can be changed naturally!

Think of the genome as the hardware of your human computer.  The epigenome attaches to your genome and acts as software telling your cells what to do.  The epigenome can tell a cell to be healthy or become abnormal and trigger reactions to certain foods, substances or create disease.

Scientists in the field of epigenetics have proven that food has successfully altered the epigenome in obese mice and their offspring.  Duke University’s Randy Jirtle summed up this study for NOVA by saying that “we’ve got to get people thinking more about what they do.  They have a responsibility for their epigenome.  Their genome they inherit.  Their epigenome, they potentially can alter, and particularly that of their children.  That brings in responsibility, but it also brings in hope.  You’re not necessarily stuck with this.  You can alter this.”

4.    The way children are educated makes a big difference.

Since the inception of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, many changes have been made to the public school systems.

  • The System runs on test scores to “ensure” no child falls behind the set standards.
  • School funding and teacher’s salaries depend on test scores.
  • An integrated way of teaching where multiple learning styles and right and left brain activities are offered is no longer the norm.
  • Budget cuts have left little time for teachers to go the extra mile.  Parents and other volunteers have become essential if a school is to provide adequate services to cover the needs of the children.
  • Homework is often a heavy and taxing load.

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell mentions that studies have proven that certain learning models can be detrimental to child development.

In her book Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students, Denise Clark Pope poses a similar argument.

Regarding ADHD, we have a referral model in place.  If a child cannot keep up or is disruptive (which can also jeopardize overall test scores and funding), parents are informed.  If ADHD seems likely, the parents go to a doctor.  If a diagnosis of ADHD or multiple diagnoses are found, which is quite typical, drugs are often recommended to manage the symptoms and allow the child to do well in school.

Most parents are blind-sided by this and are not aware that the symptoms are often caused by allergies and food.  Natural solutions for ADHD symptom relief have worked for over 30 years.

5.    An integrated model for the future

My dream is a world where children are given drugs when necessary and as a last resort rather than the first line of defense, and that parents are educated about their options.  We live in a world of chemicals and genetically modified foods and animals.  Is it any wonder that we have a population with degenerative aging diseases and sensitive children with epidemic proportion maladies?

We need to wake up and realize we only have one body in this lifetime.  We need to treat it right as well as the food and animals we put into our bodies.

The choice is yours.

(References on Epigenetics: NOVA/PBS http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3411/02.html and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014130702.htm

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