Tuesday, October 23rd
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Exercise May Lead to Better School Performance for Kids With ADHD
October 16, 2012
A few minutes of exercise can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder perform better academically, according to a new study led by a Michigan State University researcher.
The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, shows for the first time that kids with ADHD can better drown out distractions and focus on a task after a single bout of exercise. Scientists say such "inhibitory control" is the main challenge faced by people with the disorder.
"This provides some very early evidence that exercise might be a tool in our nonpharmaceutical treatment of ADHD," said Matthew Pontifex, MSU assistant professor of kinesiology, who led the study. "Maybe our first course of action that we would recommend to developmental psychologists would be to increase children's physical activity."
While drugs have proven largely effective in treating many of the 2.5 million school-aged American children with ADHD, a growing number of parents and physicians worry about the side effects and costs of medication.
In the study, Pontifex and colleagues asked 40 children aged 8 to 10, half of whom had ADHD, to spend 20 minutes either walking briskly on a treadmill or reading while seated. The children then took a brief reading comprehension and math exam similar to longer standardized tests. They also played a simple computer game in which they had to ignore visual stimuli to quickly determine which direction a cartoon fish was swimming.
The results showed all of the children performed better on both tests after exercising. In the computer game, those with ADHD also were better able to slow down after making an error to avoid repeat mistakes -- a particular challenge for those with the disorder.
Pontifex said the findings support calls for more physical activity during the school day. Other researchers have found that children with ADHD are less likely to be physically active or play organized sports. Meanwhile, many schools have cut recess and physical education programs in response to shrinking budgets.
"To date there really isn't a whole lot of evidence that schools can pull from to justify why these physical education programs should be in existence," he said. "So what we're trying to do is target our research to provide that type of evidence."
Pontifex conducted the study for his doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois before joining the MSU faculty. His co-investigators included his adviser, kinesiology professor Charles Hillman, and Daniel Picchietti, a pediatrician at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign, Ill. The research was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Michigan State University. "Exercise may lead to better school performance for kids with ADHD." ScienceDaily, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.
Baked Eggs & Veggies To Go
By Kelly Mulcair, Registered Nutritionist
Studies continue to support the idea that both children and adults who regularly eat breakfast outperform those who do not in cognitive function, memory, productivity, mood and physical performance.
I am often asked for quick and easy breakfast ideas for busy families on the go. Something small, nutritive and portable for adults and children alike.
The two most common morning time challenges are lack of time and lack of appetite.
With this in mind, I have fashioned a nutrient dense, super simple recipe that can be made ahead of time and simply warmed up (or eaten cold, as desired).
These muffin sized egg & veggie bakes work well for breakfast, lunch or snack and can be easily transported to work, school or the sports field.
I used the vegetables that I happened to have in the fridge for this recipe but you can custom make whatever mixture suits you and your family best. You could also add sliced meat to the egg mixture, as desired.
You can use regular sized muffin cups or mini muffin cups (as pictured above).
For some children, the optics of size makes a big difference. If your child is a discerning eater, she/he may feel less overwhelmed or intimidated by a small bite sized portion than a larger portion. You could also invite your child to choose the ingredients in these egg bites as a way of empowering them. The more involved your child is in the process and preparation, the more likely they will be to eat their wonderful creations. You will find that their interest and excitement for food increases with their participation.
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, optional but it adds quality protein
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 - 1 1/2 cups fresh chopped vegetables of choice (I tossed in zucchini, orange bell pepper, onion, Swiss chard and cherry tomatoes)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
This recipe will make 6-8 regular sized muffin bakes or 20-24 mini muffin bakes.
In a medium size bowl, combine eggs, milk and yogurt if using, whisking to combine. Add cheese and veggies and mix to combine.
Pour egg and vegetable mixture, about 3/4 full, into paper lined muffin cups that have been lightly sprayed with Canola/Olive oil.
Bake mini muffins for approximately 12-15 minutes or until puffed and just firm to the touch. Regular sized muffin cups will take approximately 15-20 minutes.
Neurofeedback Offers Effective Treatment for Bedwetting
October 4, 2012
For children, nighttime bedwetting is a common problem, often requiring intervention. The use of medicine and other treatments has met with limited success. Targeting neuronal activities of the brain through neurofeedback, however, has shown promising results.
The current issue of the journal Biofeedback includes an article on the use of quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG)-guided neurofeedback to treat bedwetting, or enuresis. The author reports 11 successful cases, and no failures, thus far.
A variety of causes contribute to enuresis, including being a deep sleeper, being sensitive to foods, and having a low functional bladder capacity. Only 15 percent of children who wet the bed during the night will overcome the problem without any intervention. When traditional treatments end, bedwetting often recurs.
QEEG-guided neurofeedback exercises areas of the brain, normalizing behaviors through consistent feedback. While little or no activity was seen at the Oz site in the mid-occipital region of the brain among non-enuretic individuals, those with enuresis registered low-frequency activity in this area. Eleven patients received neurofeedback training for five to seven sessions, 20 minutes per session, twice a week.
Bedwetting stopped for all 11 of these neurofeedback patients and has not recurred for at least 12 months. The author surmises that cortical control of emptying the bladder is defective in enuretic individuals. Oz beta training can enhance that control quickly and sustain it over the long term.
Allen Press Publishing Services. "Neurofeedback offers effective treatment for bedwetting." ScienceDaily, 4 Oct. 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.
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Monday, October 29 through
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Findings Reveal Brain Mechanisms at Work During Sleep
October 16, 2012
New findings presented today report the important role sleep plays, and the brain mechanisms at work as sleep shapes memory, learning, and behavior. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
One in five American adults show signs of chronic sleep deprivation, making the condition a widespread public health problem. Sleeplessness is related to health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular problems, and memory problems.
Today's findings show that:
- Sleepiness disrupts the coordinated activity of an important network of brain regions; the impaired function of this network is also implicated in Alzheimer's disease (Andrew Ward, abstract 909.05).
- Sleeplessness plays havoc with communication between the hippocampus, which is vital for memory, and the brain's "default mode network;" the changes may weaken event recollection (Hengyi Rao, PhD, abstract 626.08).
- In a mouse model, fearful memories can be intentionally weakened during sleep, indicating new possibilities for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (Asya Rolls, abstract 807.06).
- Loss of less than half a night's sleep can impair memory and alter the normal behavior of brain cells (Ted Abel, PhD, abstract 807.13).
Other recent findings discussed show:
- How sleep enables the remodeling of memories -- including the weakening of irrelevant memories -- and the coherent integration of old and new information (Gina Poe, PhD).
- The common logic behind seemingly contradictory theories of how sleep remodels synapses, aiding cognition and memory consolidation (Giulio Tononi, MD, PhD).
"As these research findings show, we cannot underestimate the importance of a good night's sleep," said press conference moderator Clifford Saper, PhD, MD, from the Harvard Medical School, an expert on sleep and its deprivation. "Brain imaging and behavioral studies are illuminating the brain pathways that are blocked or contorted by sleep deprivation, and the risks this poses to learning, memory, and mental health."
This research was supported by national funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations.
Society for Neuroscience. "Findings reveal brain mechanisms at work during sleep." ScienceDaily, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.
SIRRI offers these services for both children & adults:
- Neurofeedback & Biofeedback
- QEEG / Brain Mapping
- Cognitive Retraining: memory, processing & problem solving skills
- Attention, Concentration & Focus Training
- Auditory & Visual Processing
- Reading Development: fluency & comprehension
- Balance, Coordination & Motor Planning Development
- Stress & Anxiety Management
- IEP Advocacy