Early intervention for children with or at high risk for cerebral palsy should begin “as soon as possible” in order to build on “a critical developmental time,” according to results of a systematic review published in JAMA Pediatrics. [Read more…] about Systematic review calls for early targeted interventions to help babies and toddlers with cerebral palsy harness time window with maximum brain plasticity
Like all psychiatric disorders, ADHD is diagnosed based on the presence of particular behavioral symptoms that are judged to cause significant impairment in an individual’s functioning, and not on the results of a specific test. In fact, recently published ADHD evaluation guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explicitly state that no particular diagnostic test should be routinely used when evaluating a child for ADHD.
While most ADHD experts would agree that no single test could or should be used in isolation to diagnose ADHD, there are several important reasons why the availability of an accurate objective test would be useful.
First, many children do not receive a careful and comprehensive assessment for ADHD but are instead diagnosed with based on evaluation procedures that are far from optimal.
Second, although AAP guidelines indicate that specific diagnostic tests should not be routinely used, many parents are concerned about the lack of objective procedures in their child’s evaluation. In fact, many families do not pursue treatment for ADHD because the the absence of objective evaluation procedures leads them to question the diagnosis. You can read a review of an interesting study on this issue at www.helpforadd.com/2006/january.htm
For these reasons an accurate and objective diagnostic test for ADHD could be of value in many clinical situations. Two important conditions would have to be met for such a test to be useful.
First, it would have to be highly sensitive to [Read more…] about Neurofeedback/ Quantitative EEG for ADHD diagnosis
After about age 50, most people begin to experience a decline in memory capability. Why is that? One obvious answer is that the small arteries of the brain begin to clog up, often as a result of a lifetime of eating the wrong things and a lack of exercise. If that lifetime has been stressful, many neurons may have been killed by stress hormones. Given the most recent scientific literature, reviewed in my book Thank You, Brain, For All You Remember. What You Forgot Was My Fault, dead neurons can’t be replaced, except in the hippocampus, which is fortunate for memory because the hippocampus is essential for making certain kinds of memories permanent. Another cause is incipient Alzheimer’s disease; autopsies show that many people have the lesions of the disease but have never shown symptoms, presumably because a lifetime of exceptional mental activity has built up a “cognitive reserve.
So is there anything you can do about it besides exercise like crazy, eat healthy foods that you don’t like all that much, pop your statin pills, and take up yoga?
Yes. In short: focus, focus, focus.
Changing thinking styles can help. Research shows that [Read more…] about What You Can do to Improve Memory (and Why It Deteriorates in Old Age)
We have all heard about children who have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Indeed, this condition seems to affect 5 to 8% of school age children. Have you ever wondered what happen to these children? As many as 60% of them become adults presenting AD/HD symptoms! Ron de Graaf and colleagues recently published a study in which they found that an average of 3.5% of workers (in ten countries) meet the criteria for adult ADHD. As you can imagine, being an adult with AD/HD can be a challenge at work.
Before we explore this issue let’s start by describing the symptoms of ADHD.
What is adult AD/HD?
AD/HD is a disorder of the brain. Research clearly indicates that AD/HD is to a large extent genetic, that is it tends to run in families. However, AD/HD is a complex disorder and other causal factors may be at play.
Typically, the symptoms arise in early childhood, unless they are associated with some type of brain injury later in life. Some people have mild AD/HD with only a few symptoms while others have more serious AD/HD with more symptoms.
Symptoms of inattention (adapted from the DSM-IV)
A reader (thanks Mike!) sends us this fun article, titled A matter of training, on how to train our memory. Some quotes:
“It’s a skill, not a talent. It’s something anyone could have picked up … I’m not born with this. It’s about training and technique, he says, explaining his unusual ability. Anant holds the Limca Record the Indian equivalent of the Guinness Record œ for memorising 75 telephone numbers, along with the names of their owners, in less than an hour. He is recognised as “the man with the most phenomenal memory in India.
“Unfortunately, most people think that memorising is very difficult. The moment they see someone demonstrate something like this, they think it’s out of this world.
If you want to remember something, you have to link it to something you already know. Association is the natural principal. For example, if you need directions to a place, a landmark is often used as a point of reference. And if you derive pleasure from something you do, there’s a good chance you’ll remember it. Since the brain already works in this manner, why don’t we take control of it?
“To me, an intelligent person is someone who is able to put together more of his skills to solve a problem. Intelligence is about using strategies.
The key concept here is that memory, as well as other cognitive skills, can be trained through [Read more…] about Memory Improvement Techniques and Brain Exercises