Friday, June 20, 2008

Searching For Clues To An Answer That Does Not Yet Exist

No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time a steady eye. ~Winston Churchill
I've been scouring websites for any information on the possible causes of ADHD. It is just saddening to know that all of the possibilities out there are merely speculations. Research is being done, scientists all over the country are working to pinpoint the cause(s) of this disorder, but have not discovered one definite cause, to date. I did happen upon an interesting website that kind of summarizes all of the currently possible sources. Stillpoint Center For Health highlights these things in an easy to digest manner. Here are a few excerpts:


The etiology of ADHD is unclear, however theories abound. Neurological explanations claim that ADHD is due to some dysfunction in the brain. Indirect drug response research has been used to conclude that ADHD may be due to insufficient quantities of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, known as catecholamines. Biochemical studies and neurological testing of neurotransmitter metabolites in the urine have not, however, been able to document the specific role of catecholamines in ADHD.


Other researchers claim that there is reduced blood flow in the frontal lobe area of the brain of ADHD patients, causing lowered activity in this area (1). The frontal lobe is responsible for functions such as planning, initiative and ability to regulate behavior, and so reduced functioning may cause disruptions to these behaviors similar to ADHD characteristics. This was tested by Dr Alan Zametkin at the National Institute of Mental Health, who used positron emission tomography or PET scans to record the radioactivity of the brain following glucose ingestion. The deficit in glucose uptake and hence energy to the brain following a specific task in ADD subjects (8% lower than the control group) indicates a link between diminished frontal lobe activity and ADHD. ADHD behavior is described as responding to this situation by seeking out higher levels of stimulation to sufficiently engage and satisfy the brain and sensory centers.


Some theorists argue for the role of the Reticular Activating System of the brain stem in ADHD. The RAS regulates the level of arousal of a person, from waking consciousness to deep sleep. Impairment in this system may cause the ADHD problems with alertness. Larry Silver likens the problem to a ‘faulty filter system’, which cannot screen out irrelevant information or sensory stimuli as well as it should, leading to an overload of messages. Other experts believe that a malfunction in the communication feedback loop, which links the reticular activating system and frontal lobe, may be the cause of the disordered, inconsistent and erratic behavior typical of ADHD (2).


Some theorists argue for the role of the Reticular Activating System of the brain stem in ADHD. The RAS regulates the level of arousal of a person, from waking consciousness to deep sleep. Impairment in this system may cause the ADHD problems with alertness. Larry Silver likens the problem to a ‘faulty filter system’, which cannot screen out irrelevant information or sensory stimuli as well as it should, leading to an overload of messages. Other experts believe that a malfunction in the communication feedback loop, which links the reticular activating system and frontal lobe, may be the cause of the disordered, inconsistent and erratic behavior typical of ADHD (2).


While there is also an abundance of information on the nutritional aspects, I did not include them here. Please visit this site to read on about those and the many other possible factors. The information is very intriguing. It is also very frustrating because it confirms the fact that I may never be able to pinpoint the cause of my son's condition. In that case, we will just continue to treat his symptoms, naturally and to the best of our ability. It is all we can do, short of resorting back to the medication...which is not an option, in my mind.

3 comments:

Kaylynn's Mommy said...

I saw that you visited my website. I don't know what you think about the video, but there are several out there about children acting out because of allergic reactions. I watched several videos in my behavior management class. I found this one on You-Tube and I thought it was interesting. There are a few medical facilities that you can take your children to get tested for allergies.

My professor discusses how he treated many of his clients for allergies and their problems disappeared. He referred them to a special allergist.

Perhaps you don't see this topic as interesting as I do. However, I want to believe that most people don't choose to act out aggressively because it is a learned behavior. I believe that environmental and biological factors affect their behavior.

Kadi said...

On the contrary...
I found it very interesting! After watching the video (which was hard with screaming toddlers hanging on my legs,) I immediately went online in search of a pediatric allergist.
Thanks again for your shared info :)

Kaylynn's Mommy said...

Good. I am glad you found it informative because I really want to see your son get better. I care so much about children and I want them to have happy lives. Living in California, I am sure there are many great doctors! Continue to stay positive because your son will get better. He doesn't need medicine! Good teachers who love children know how to support and teach students with ADHD. With support from home and school, you can win this battle!

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