NY Times: "Exercising the Mind to Treat Attention Deficits"

Exercising the Mind to Treat Attention DeficitsBy Daniel Goleman, New York Times, May 12, 2014This article published in the New York Times earlier this month has gotten a lot of attention from my patients and colleagues. I have provided a few quotes below but you can find the full article here."Poor planning, wandering attention and trouble inhibiting impulses all signify lapses in cognitive control. Now a growing stream of research suggests that strengthening this mental muscle, usually with exercises in so-called mindfulness, may help children and adults cope with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder""According to a recent report in Clinical Neurophysiology, adults with A.D.D. were shown to benefit from mindfulness training combined with cognitive therapy; their improvements in mental performance were comparable to those achieved by subjects taking medications.""Mindfulness seems to flex the brain circuitry for sustaining attention, an indicator of cognitive control, according to research by Wendy Hasenkamp and Lawrence Barsalou at Emory University."But if medications also work, why bother with mindfulness?"In a large study published last year in The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers reported that while most young people with A.D.H.D. benefit from medications in the first year, these effects generally wane by the third year, if not sooner.'There are no long-term, lasting benefits from taking A.D.H.D. medications,' said James M. Swanson, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, and an author of the study. 'But mindfulness seems to be training the same areas of the brain that have reduced activity in A.D.H.D.'"

BBC: "Ketamine 'exciting' depression therapy"

BBC reports that Ketamine (considered a "dissociative anesthetic") has been shown to have some very rapid and dramatic effects on depression in early research studies. As the article describes, there are also potential side effects that are quite serious and "it's not about to replace prozac" anytime soon. They believe that in the future Ketamine itself will not be used, but understanding how it affects the brain will yield new medications with fewer side effects.

CHADD medication shortage survey

I received a request from CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) asking for people to fill out a questionnaire related to an ADHD stimulant drug shortage. If you are having trouble getting stimulant medication, you can help by filling out the survey so that CHADD can better understand the extent of the shortage and relay that information to the appropriate government agencies.Information about the questionnaire can be found here. Or you can go directly to the questionnaire here. Note that the survey is only until June 12.

Scientists reveal how psychostimulant drugs work to control hyperactivity

Scientists reveal how psychostimulant drugs work to control hyperactivityPublished on February 8, 2012This article describes a 2012 study which has shed light on why stimulant medication paradoxically reduces motor activity.  Stimulant medications work by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain.  The researchers found that stimulating dopamine D4 receptors in the basal ganglia and thalamus (structures deep in the brain) decrease motor activity, explaining how the stimulant can have a calming effect.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Myths and Facts

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Myths and Facts (3 min, 6 sec)A discussion of the common myths associated with ADHD. A few of the mythsdiscussed include:

  • Does treatment with stimulant medication lead to drug addiction?
  • Is ADHD over-diagnosed?
  • Does ADHD mean you are set up for a lifetime of failures?

Lawmakers Call on DEA, Drug Makers to Explain ADHD Drug Shortages

Lawmakers Call on DEA, Drug Makers to Explain ADHD Drug ShortagesBy: Jane Anderson, Family Practice News Digital Network, published January 18, 2012"House Democrats have called on the Drug Enforcement Administration and two manufacturers of drugs to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder to explain shortages of medicines to treat the disorder, especially generic versions of the drugs."