ADD, also known as Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD), Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Hyperkinetic Syndrome. ADD is usually refer to children who were incapable of concentrating at school and couldn’t sit still. About one-third of ADHD cases among U.S. children may be linked with tobacco smoke before birth or to lead exposure afterward. Even levels of lead the government considers acceptable appeared to increase a child's risk of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Brain scans of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder show abnormalities in the fiber pathways along which brain signals pass. The finding indicates the disorder may be more than just a chemical imbalance, they added. Using an imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging, researchers found subtle anatomical differences in children diagnosed with ADHD that may affect communication between key areas of the brain - the frontal cortex, basal ganglia, brain stem and cerebellum. These areas are involved in the process that regulate attention, impulsive behavior, motor activity, and inhibition - the key symptoms in ADHD children. In another study, brain irregularities diminished in children who had been medicated with stimulant drugs for an average of 2-1/2 years.
ADD and ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder).
Amphetamine, Dextroamphetamine, Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), Atomoxetine (Strattera), and certain antidepressants.
DMAE, L- Carnitine, Zinc, Blue-Green Algae, Combined Amino Acids (GABA), L-Glutamine, Melatonin, St. John's Wort, Essential Fatty Acids (Fish Oil).
According to studies performed in the 1970s, DMAE (2-Dimethylaminoethanol) may be helpful for ADD. In a double blind study involving fifty children aged 6 to 12 years who had been diagnosed with hyperkinesia comparing DMAE to placebo, 300 mg of DMAE were given initially, and 500 mg daily by the third week, and continued for 10 weeks. Evaluations revealed statistically significant test score improvements in the treatment group compared to the placebo group.
In another double-blind study compared DMAE with both Ritalin and placebo in 74 children with "learning disabilities", both DMAE and Ritaling group showed significant test score improvement over a 10-week period.
A small, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial evaluated the possible efficacy of the supplement carnitine for ADD in boys 13 and younger. Approximately 50% of the participants responded to carnitine , a significantly higher percentage than responded to placebo. These promising results suggest that a larger trial is warranted.
Zinc has shown some modest promise for treatment of ADHD in research. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 400 participants, 35mg daily use of zinc vs placebo were used. 28% of the participants given zinc showed improvement vs 20% in the placebo group. In another research, 15mg per day zinc enhance the effect of Ritalin modestly.
J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2001 May;26(3):221-8. Oceanside Functional Medicine Research Institute, Nanaimo, BC.
A combination herbal product containing American ginseng extract, Panax quinquefolium, (200 mg) and Ginkgo biloba extract (50 mg) (AD-FX; CV Technologies, Edmonton, Alta.) was tested for its ability to improve the symptoms of ADHD. AD-FX capsules were taken twice a day on an empty stomach for 4 weeks. Patients were instructed not to change any other medications during the study. After 2 weeks of the ADHD herbal remedy treatment, the proportion of the subjects exhibiting improvement ranged from 31% for the anxious-shy attribute to 67% for the psychosomatic attribute. After 4 weeks of treatment, the proportion of subjects exhibiting improvement ranged from 44% for the social problems attribute to 74% for the Conners' ADHD index and the DSM-IV hyperactive-impulsive attribute. Five (14%) of 36 subjects reported adverse events, only 2 of which were considered related to the study medication. These preliminary results suggest AD-FX treatment may improve symptoms of ADHD and should encourage further research on the use of ginseng and Ginkgo biloba extracts to treat ADHD symptoms.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are "good fats," substances as important to your general health as vitamins. Based on evidence that essential fatty acids are necessary for the proper development of brain function in growing children, EFAs found in fish oil and evening primrose oil have been tried for the treatment of ADHD and related conditions. However, the results have been less than impressive.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 50 children with ADHD, use of essential fatty acids from fish oil and evening primrose oil failed to provide any consistent, significant benefit above and beyond the placebo effect. Other control
trial with essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, found in fish oil) failed to improve symptoms as well.
Evening primrose oil alone failed to prove effective for attention deficit disorder in a small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. In a placebo-controlled, comparative trial, evening primrose oil proved less effective than standard medical treatment. However, a close look at the data in this last trial hinted that evening primrose oil might have been more effective in people with adequate zinc levels. This suggests that combination therapy with zinc and evening primrose oil should be tested, but thus far this approach has not undergone meaningful study.
One study found that the supplement melatonin may be helpful for improving sleep in children with ADHD taking stimulant medications. However, melatonin does not appear to be helpful for ADHD symptoms per se.
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