Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects 5% pf children worldwide. It is often diagnosed by teachers who have difficulty managing certain children in class, and leads to the prescription of drugs that alter behavior, particularly stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall. These drugs are addicting, related to amphetamines, and cause physical growth retardation, as well as emotional dullness. Parents are often loathe to submit their children to these drugs.
The Finegold diet, a program that restricts the intake of sugars, food colorings and preservatives, has been found effective in managing a number of children with ADHD symptoms. A recent paper (Lancet, Feb. 5, 2011, pp.494-503) offers similar results, and encourages that the first treatment for children with ADHD should not be with drugs, but rather with dietary management.
One hundred children, 4-8 years of age, diagnosed with ADHD or oppositional-defiant disorder, were enrolled in a placebo-controlled trial. The elimination (few foods) diet consisted of rice, meat, vegetables, pears and water, complemented with specific items such as fruits, potatoes and wheat. If children did not improve after two weeks, the complementary foods were eliminated. Children were assessed by their parents, teachers and pediatricians.
Seventy eight percent of children who completed the elimination diet phase had improved. Two thirds of these children, after being placed back on unrestricted diets, reverted to their prior behavior.Continue Reading
Oh, to be the Bildens. Their three kids go to bed at a decent hour — around 9 — and sleep through the night. No little ones tiptoeing out of the bedroom for a third glass of water or fifth bathroom trip.
“The embarrassing part is, I go to sleep shortly after them. I raise the white flag and crawl into bed. I get up early, by 5,” says Kristin Bilden of Durham, N.C., whose three children range in age from 6 to 13.
Healthy parent sleep habits like Bilden’s just might be one of the keys to why her kids are well rested, while technology may be kids’ biggest sleep robber, says Nancy Collop, president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
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Resveratrol, the potentially anti-aging polyphenol found in red wine and in high amounts in certain other plants, was found to significantly increase blood flow to the brain, according to a recent study. This suggests that resveratrol may have therapeutic value in the clinical setting for those who have suffered brain damage due to things like stroke.
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Two compounds found in green tea, l-theanine and caffeine, when used in combination, were found to increase attention in subjects performing attention specific tasks.
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Previously, a number of studies have suggested that engaging in physical exercise helps to ward off cognitive decline as we age. Yonas Geda, from the Mayo Clinic (Minnesota, USA), and colleagues studied 1,324 men and women, ages 70 to 89 years, who did not have dementia at the study’s start. Study subjects completed a physical exercise questionnaire for a two-year period, after which they were also assessed by a medical team to classify each as having normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment. A total of 198 participants (median or midpoint age, 83 years) were determined to have mild cognitive impairment and 1,126 (median age 80) had normal cognition. Those study subjects who reported performing moderate exercise—such as brisk walking, aerobics, yoga, strength training or swimming—during midlife or late life were less likely to have mild cognitive impairment. Midlife moderate exercise was associated with 39% reduction in the odds of developing the condition, and moderate exercise in late life was associated with a 32% reduction. Neither light exercise (such as bowling, slow dancing or golfing with a cart) nor vigorous exercise (including jogging, skiing and racquetball) were associated with reduced risk for mild cognitive impairment. The researchers conclude that: [A]ny frequency of moderate exercise performed in midlife or late life was associated with a reduced odds of having [mild cognitive impairment].”