Are ADHD Meds Affecting Growth- Your Adult Height?

ADHD2If your child has the symptoms of being very impulsive and hyperactive, or perhaps just very inattentive, they may have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  You’ll hear that we are just better at diagnosing this, or that this is a pharma driven diagnosis so they can sell more medications. While I think both of those factors are likely true, I can assure you as a pediatrician in the trenches for the past 30 years, that we most definitely are seeing more ADD and ADHD. Those kids who have this challenge are also more severe than their parents and the generation before.

The CDC presents the following statistics which fit with my experience:

  • Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
  • The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007, and to 11.0% in 2011.
  • Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011.
  • Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.

These statistics can be found here…

I encourage parents who are dealing with children struggling in school, with focus, or attention issues, to get their child assessed. Once you discover your child has ADD or ADHD, what should you do? Many fear that stimulants will stunt their child’s growth. That has not been my experience. As long as your child gets enough to eat (the stimulants do suppress the appetite, so have a big breakfast with fat and protein and have a big dinner and bedtime meal) they will grow just fine. I encourage a lot of natural things as well to heal the brain including fish oil (1000-2000 mg daily), vitamin D (2000 to 5000 IU daily depending on your school aged child’s weight,) methyl B12, and methyl-folate to name a few. Some children focus better on a whole food – or “paleo” style diet, and getting rid of processed foods completely.

The recent study in Pediatrics, “ADHD, stimulant treatment, and growth: a longitudinal study,” showed there was no difference in adult height or significant changes in growth for those with ADHD on stimulant therapy. You can read more about this study here…

Other things that are very helpful are providing extra structure, organization, and homework help, and continue to uplift and be positive with your child. These kids feel that they are not smart when in fact most are very intelligent, they just under perform at school due to forgetting to turn in assignments, missing instructions, and doing poorly on timed tests. Most schools will allow accommodations, whether a 504 plan and an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan).

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

Ten Tips for Autism Spectrum

Autism2Below is the entire outline as it speaks for itself.  Most important for us all to remember, is that Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are just labels. If you had cancer you would not go around saying I am cancer or I have cancer.  We are individuals who are experiencing unique challenges to our neurotransmitters and chemistry. Many of us suffer from immune-mediated issues and gastro-intestinal issues, and frequently we experience severe anxiety and are very sensitive to noise or touch or sensory overload etc. This was pulled from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and can be found here…

 

The article begins here-

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Volume 53, Issue 11, Pages 1145–1146.e3, November 2014

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Ten Tips to Support Me

The recently revised American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder1 highlights the importance of clinicians maintaining an active role in family and individual support. Its evidence-based recommendations coincide with those of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions, the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Autism Europe.2 In contrast, in Europe, there is a greater emphasis on an approach to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder that is based on rights, participation, and quality. Inclusion Europe3 leads a campaign for making information easily understandable as an essential mechanism to foster citizen participation, ensure informed choice, and protect human rights.

Recognizing the complementary strengths in these approaches, my colleagues and I have produced a tool to empower stakeholders, guide caregivers, and provide a rationale for advocates. The document was originally produced by its author and then reviewed, edited, and formally endorsed by a self-support group of young persons with Asperger disorder and by the Board of Families from the Gipuzkoa Autistic Society, the largest autism community program in southern Europe.

It is hoped that this document, also accessible in Basque, French, and Spanish will become a framework for clinical practice and global advocacy.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorders: 10 Tips to Support Me

  • I am not “autistic.” I am first, foremost, and always a person, a student, a child, and I have autism. Do not confuse me with my condition. And, please, do not use the term in a negative or inconsiderate way. I deserve to be respected.
  • I am an individual. Having autism does not make me the same as other people with autism. Make an effort to know me as an individual, to understand my strengths, my weaknesses, and me. Ask me—and my friends and my family, if I cannot reply—about my dreams.
  • I deserve services, just like all children. Services for me begin early. Autism is—or it will be, when recognized—a public health issue in many countries of the world. There are instruments to screen it. They should be applied in the framework of screening for other developmental disabilities. If you start soon, my life will be different! And remember that about one quarter of my siblings will have autism or other problems. Help them; they are an important part of my life.
  • I belong in the health care system, just like all children. Include me in regular health care. The health care system should adapt to me, limiting waiting times and ensuring that I understand what is to be done, by using, for example, easy-to-read materials, pictograms, technologic means, and so forth. Other patients also will benefit.
  • I belong with other children. Do not separate me from them because you want to treat me, educate me, or care for me. I can, and I should, be placed in regular schools and regular community settings, and special support should be provided to me in those places. I have something to teach other children and something to learn from them.
  • I belong with my family. Plan with me for my future and my transitions. I am the one who should decide, and, when my ability to do so is limited, my family and friends will speak for me. No government agency can take the place of my family, and, please, make sure that our society values my family’s generosity when they support me on society’s behalf.
  • I deserve the right to evidence-based services. These may not be convenient or easy, but when I get them, I do better. Do not substitute my educational, health, and social support with medication. I may require medication, and I look forward to new developments in biological treatments, but you must be cautious in their use. Count on me for research ventures; get me involved, with all my rights protected. I also want to help others.
  • I belong in society. Engage me in vocational training. I want to contribute. The services I need during my adult life should be guided by self-determination, relationships, and inclusion in all the activities of my community. Your goal must be to adapt the environment I have to face and modify settings and attitudes. It also will make our society better.
  • I have human rights, and I face discrimination for many reasons. Many of us live in poverty with no community support system. Some of us are immigrants or minorities, including sexual minorities. Keep a gender perspective. Girls and women with autism are often at greater risk of violence, injury, or abuse.
  • I belong in the world. I have a role to play. We, and my legal representatives, want to be involved in policy making, its development, and its evaluation. You need my help to know what should be done. Empower me. Remember my motto: nothing about me, without me.

 

Dr. Paul

 

ADHD- Increasing Diagnosis World Wide and Why (or do you really want to know why?)

toxic2When conflicts of interest arise, the results can be insane.  Imagine a system of government and medical providers that promotes and supports big businesses that are largely the reason for the massive increases in ADHD and other neurological disorders affecting children. They then tell you that the massive increases of disorders you are seeing is just in your imagination.  Everything is unchanged.  We are all good!  This article published in Social Science & Medicine, “The impending globalization of ADHD: Notes on the expansion and growth of a medicalized disorder,” (you can find it here… ) presents facts that do represent reality but miss the real issue.

 

The study of children ages 4-17 showed:

  • ADHD increased by 42% from 2003 to 2011, with 2 million more ADHD children in the US over those 8 years
  • ADHD increased by 28% from 2007 to 2011
  • 11% of children in 2011 have ADHD with more than 2/3 taking medication. Read more here…

 

“We” diagnose ADHD so we can sell more ADHD drugs, and yes, to help these children, but I disagree that all the increase in ADHD is caused by more knowledge, the Internet etc.  While awareness certainly does increase our ability to diagnose ADHD, awareness has nothing to do with the cause.

So what causes ADHD? Wouldn’t it be nice to know, so you could have a chance to have and raise children who are not compromised by this brain chemistry disorder?

 

Genetic risk factors  are huge. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Twin studies showed that 82% of identical twins and 38% of non-identical twins were concordant for ADHD (both had it). You can find these studies here… If you adopt a child, they are more like their birth parents than adoptive parents when it comes to ADHD.  What many miss here, though, is that in each generation the severity seems to be greater. Too often I hear, “well I had ADHD and I did fine with simple hard work and effort”. Well so did I, but I can assure you my own children are so severe that medical school is out of the question.  No amount of “buck-up” and effort could overcome the severity of their inattention and distractibility. It would be like asking a child with severe autism or with cancer to buck-up!

 

Toxins, environmental (you breathe, drink, eat and inject them) are the triggers that make those who are genetically vulnerable suffer from ADHD and other brain chemistry disorders. There are thousands of toxins in our environment.

  1. Lead (Jusko et al. 2008)
  2. Methylmercury (Oken et al. 2008)
  3. Polychlorinated biphenyls (Winneke 2011)
  4. Organophosphate pesticides (Eskenazi et al. 2007London et al. 2012)
  5. Organochlorine pesticides (Eskenazi et al. 2008)
  6. Endocrine disruptors (Braun et al. 2011Miodovnik et al. 2011)
  7. Automotive exhaust (Volk et al. 2011)
  8. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (Perera et al. 2009)
  9. Brominated flame retardants (Herbstman et al. 2010)
  10. Perfluorinated compounds (Stein and Savitz 2011).

 

I would add: injected aluminum (in many vaccines), and glyphosate (Roundup) as two other huge environmental toxins.

You can also find my previous blog about these neurotoxins here…

It is not poor parenting

 ADHD children do much better with structure, tutoring, and parent styles that validate, nurture, support and build self-esteem while providing a safe environment away from distractions and high risk environments.  These kids are impulsive and risk takers.  Help them by providing an environment where the risks they do take will not destroy their lives.

Dr. Paul

Autism Genetics Not So Simple, Think ENVIRONMENT! & Tips to Stay Healthy and Avoid Autism, Cancer, and Heart Disease

autismrainbowThe study, “Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder,” published in Nature January 2015 (and found here… ) shows that it is really the environment and not specific genes. In this study, they sequenced entire genomes of 85 families (340 genomes) and found that 69% of siblings had little to no overlap in the gene variations known to contribute to autism.  Put another way, sibling pairs shared the same autism-associated genes 31% of the time.

Researcher Dr. Scherer says, “We believe that each child with autism is like a snowflake – unique from the other”.

The evidence keeps pouring in.  Autism is not a single disease any more than obesity, cancer, or heart disease.  These are conditions that result from exposure to environmental risk factors.  Sure, some of us are more vulnerable than others. For example, some of us might carry the MTHFR genetic defect.  In that case, we would be more vulnerable to toxins and to all three of the diseases I just mentioned.

But being vulnerable doesn’t mean you need to suffer from those diseases.  This is where lifestyle and choices come in.

Since autism hits mostly in the first two years of life, we must do all we can to avoid toxins during the 9 months in the womb and the first two-three years of life.

Here is your list of what to do and what not to do:

  1. Eat organic, drink filtered water, and for those sensitive to it, avoid gluten, sugar, and grains all together for some.
  2. If pregnant, take your prenatal vitamin, iodine, vitamin D at 4-5,000 IU a day, methyl-folate and methyl-B12.
  3. Don’t receive vaccines while pregnant.
  4. Don’t give your newborn the Hepatitis B vaccine unless birth mom has Hepatitis B.
  5. Vaccinate carefully, not giving more than one aluminum containing vaccine at a time.
  6. Wait on the MMR until age 3 unless you will be in a measles outbreak area (3 or more cases linked in the same area)
  7. Get moving (exercise to the point of being a little short of breath) at least 30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week.

 

Dr. Paul