ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, Dore Achievement Centres

The Dore theory of Cerebellar Development Delay has attracted a fair degree of criticism over the years. It is the idea that educational problems such as ADHD and dyslexia are caused by an underdeveloped cerebellum. There has been little direct evidence for this but new research using fMRI scanners shows it has potential.

In a long-term study of normal and ADHD children, researches have found that ADHD brains develop as much as five years slower than those of normal children. I haven’t got the paper’s reference yet but this science-lite video clip from Discover Magazine gives a quick overview of the project.

When I have more time, I will find the actual paper and look further into it to see what information it has on the cerebellum’s development. Potentially is has evidence to seriously prove or disprove the Cerebellar Development Delay hypothesis.

Thanks to Mind Hacks for finding this.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, ADD / ADHD Medication, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Digital Fitness, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Testing & Diagnosis, Dyslexia Treatment, Dyspraxia, Medication, Memory, Music, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, Rhythm Games, Wii Fit

One of the reasons I started this blog was because I was interested in creating a cerebellum training program that was quicker, more effective than Dore. Myomancy was my notebook of interesting technology and relevant science. Over the years I’ve examined many different approaches to the treatment of dyslexia and ADHD. Some were simply nonsense, others had promise but were lacking the scientific, technological or business resources to make them viable. Some lacked the ethical honesty necessary when selling products to parents desperately worried about their children.

Slowly overtime I refined my ideas about how cerebellum training should work and how a independent company without much in the way financial resources could develop and sell such a product in an ethical manner. One main stumbling block has been the cost and availability of the technology necessary to track a user’s limb movements and balance. So I’ve been watching the progress of the Wii and latterly the Wii Fit with interest. The technology needed for cerebellum training was finally cheaply and readily available. What’s more many people already own it.

Originally I intended to make an announcement after slowly develop a proof of concept over the next few months but with the collapse of Dore and the shadow that will cast over the cerebellum training field, I’ve decided to move my plans forward. So I’m pleased to announced the creation of WyyMi, a project to create a free, open-source, open-science cerebellum training program.

What is WyyMi?
WyyMi is a project to develop a cerebellum training program to help people with dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia and similar educational problems.

Project Goals
To develop a system that cost nothing (or as close to nothing as possible) to use; to do it using open-source software; and to make freely available as much scientific evidence on its effectiveness as possible.

How Will It Work?
The idea is to use cheap and easily available computer hardware that can monitor and assess gross motor movements and balance. At the moment the Wii Remote and Wii Fit Balance Board seem the best candidates but they need to be adapted to work on PCs and Macs because the Wii console itself is difficult to develop for.

Using this hardware and software on the website, users will be perform a series of exercises. The amount of time spent training and the accuracy of the user’s movement will be logged on the server so that the user can track their progress and so the server can inform the user which exercises to do next. This data will also be aggregated, made anonymous and published so that it can be analyzed by any interested 3rd party. Ideally, symptom specific measures (e.g. spelling tests) will also be included so that the training programs effectiveness in treating educational problems can be measured.

Other than a broad statement of goals and the planned route for achieving them, there is nothing else on site at the moment. Progress is likely to slow, not least because I am working on another project at the moment as well maintaining my existing portfolio of web sites. If you wish to help in anyway, please see the announcement for ways you can contribute, not matter what your skills are.

Myomancy will be continuing to report on anything and everything I think is relevant to dyslexia, ADHD and autism. Obviously as I am planning to create my own training program, that might create a conflict of interest when discussing other people’s approach. I will try and be as unbiased as possible and make my conflict of interest clear.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Testing & Diagnosis, Dyslexia Treatment, Music, Nintendo Wii, Wii Fit

The Corpus Callosum is a large structure in the brain that connects the two hemispheres. Its roll is to pass information from the left hemisphere to the right and vice versa. This is a vital as the two hemispheres perform different tasks and need to communicate efficiently. The Corpus Callosum has been linked by scientists to dyslexia and ADHD for a long time. They theorize that the problems in these conditions may be caused by insufficient information passing between the two halves of the brain.

Plenty of research has been done on the size of the Corpus Callosum in dyslexics and in children with ADHD and the results have generally found a correlation. Its seems that the anterior region of the Corpus Callosum was significantly smaller in the dyslexic children. However the results are not clear cut with at least one study has found no difference in dyslexic versus non-dyslexic children and another study on adult, male dyslexics found areas of the Corpus Callosum were larger that normal.

These variation in results may have several causes. How the study defines dyslexia when selecting there sample population may make an impact. The sophistication of the equipment used is important. Some of these studies date back to the early 1990’s when fMRI technology was still new so the ability to accurately measure the Corpus Callosum may of been poorer. Our knowledge of the brains structure has also improved and later studies have tended to focus on specific areas of the Corpus Callosum, partially areas linked to the processing of sounds. However, with a lot of maybes and provisos it does look like the Corpus Callosum in dyslexic and ADHD children is subtly different.

Being able to efficiently pass information from one half of the brain to the other is vital. Much like a road between to busy cities. The better the road, the more information, wealth and trade will flow between the cities. So in dyslexic and ADHD children this road may be poor and restricting vital traffic. But there is hope that this roadway can be improved.

Its has been found that the Corpus Callosum was larger in professional musicians than in non-musicians. Playing instruments involves a lot of cross hemisphere processing to keep both hand’s movements in time with each other. This suggest that by regular practice the Corpus Callosum can be strengthen. The Dore Program, Interactive Metronome and primitive reflex based treatments such as INPP all involve cross-lateral movements designed to train this area of the brain. Other activities may also help. Such as computer games like Wii Drums and some aspects of Wii Fit may also help.

If you would like to try out your Corpus Callosum, have a look at this test on Mind Hacks. You will need a friend to help you but otherwise it is an extremely simple demonstration of what the Corpus Callosum does.

Studies

Dyslexia and corpus callosum morphology
Magnetic resonance imaging of the corpus callosum in developmental dyslexia
Corpus callosum morphology, as measured with MRI, in dyslexic men
Developmental Dyslexia: Re-Evaluation of the Corpus callosum in Male Adults
Less developed corpus callosum in dyslexic subjects—a structural MRI study
Increased corpus callosum size in musicians

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, ADD / ADHD Treatment

Diet and food additives have been suspected as a cause of ADHD since the 1970s and the Dr Feingold diet. After its period in the sun, the idea that certain types of food or chemicals in the food causing ADHD was discarded by mainstream science because the research failed to show any consistent results. This did not stop many thousands of parents changing their children’s diets, often with remarkable success stories.

Now, the UK Food Standard Agency has released the results of complex and top-rate research it has been doing into food colorings. Rather than looking for an individual cause, it looked at mixtures of chemicals commonly found in drinks aimed at children. They tested two mixtures on 260 children split into two age groups, three years old and eight years old. The children including a range of ADHD symptoms from none to extreme so that the study could assess whether the chemicals increase existing symptoms or cause ADHD in those with no symptoms. The study lasted six weeks and during which the children were assessed by the parents, teachers and most importantly, a trained independent observer. The trial was a double blind study so that none of the children, parents, teachers or observers knew whether the child was receiving mixture A, mixture B or a placebo. A second stage of the study used a subset of the children and observed them under tightly controlled laboratory conditions.

The results were complex. Three year olds responded with a significantly increased level of hyperactivity to mixture A whereas the eight year old responded more to mixture B. Also not all children responded the same way and the levels of response where not connected to the child’s existing levels of hyperactive behaviour.

Part of the research was to see if genetic make-up played a role in how children reacted to the drinks. They found that children with genes relating to impair histamine clearance (histamine N-methyltransferase, HNMT Thr105le and/or HNMT T939C). Children with these genes did show a significantly greater reaction to the both mixtures.

One area the research did not clarify is how long the effects last. At various points during the study, children were on a placebo to give the body a chance to remove any residual chemicals. This seemed to be enough but as the children had only been taking the chemical mixtures for a week or two, its is not clear how long they would stay in the body if the child regularly consumed them over several months.

The study has not produced a clear culprit for ADHD and the study authors admit that the results they have seen could be down to chance. However this study and previous work does indicate diet can have an effect, and sometimes a very strong effect, on some children. Should parents avoid these chemicals? I think my advice from the last time Myomancy looked at diet and ADHD still holds true:

The best advice currently available is for children to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. This will certainly help prevent weight problems and improve the child’s overall physical and neurological development. If the diet helps treat ADD / ADHD then that’s a bonus.

FSA’s Press Release
Comments on the study from the FSA’s Chief Scientist
Chronic and acute effects of artificial colourings and preservatives on children’s behaviour: Study design and results.
Detailed review by the FSA’s Committe on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Enviroment. [ PDF ].

The chemicals and colorings used in the study

Mix A replicated the food colours and preservatives used in a previous study and consisted of:

* Sunset yellow (E110)
* Tartrazine (E102)
* Carmoisine (E122)
* Ponceau 4R (E124)
* Sodium benzoate (E211)

Mix B consisted of:

* Sunset yellow (E110)
* Quinoline yellow (E104)
* Carmoisine (E122)
* Allura red (E129)
* Sodium benzoate (E211)

Sodium benzoate was included in both mixes, but the effects observed were not consistent. The Agency therefore considers that, if real, the observed increases in hyperactive behaviour were more likely to be linked to one or more of the specific colours tested.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis

Whilst searching for papers for ADHD and Sex I found this study: Differences in heterosocial behavior and outcomes of ADHD-symptomatic subtypes in a college sample.

The study looked at three groups of around 20 individuals of college age. One was a group of non-ADHD controls. The second group were ADHD Combined type (ADHD/C) and the last group ADHD Primarily Inattentive (ADHD/IA). (See ADD or ADHD for more on the different types of ADHD). The ADHD/C group had higher sex drive and early dating experience compared to the control group where as the ADHD/IA had a consistent pattern of passivity and inexperience and was perceived relatively negatively by female confederates.

This is interesting because studies of ADHD adults found: ADHD adults started having sex a year earlier; about a third dropped out of high school, compared with none of the control group; 1 out of 3 had become parents by their early 20s vs. 1 in 25 of the controls. (ADHD Problems Continue Into Adulthood). The two studies suggest that the ‘cool’ kids in school, those that rebel, adopt high risk behaviour (drug taking etc) and become sexually active earlier, are ADHDers with the combined type. Whereas the geeky kids who are seen negatively by their peers and are late developers are more likely to be inattentive type.

That ADHD plays a role in these two significant social groups in college, the rebels and the geeks, raise interesting questions about what ADHD is. How much of this behaviour can we put down to personality type and how much is a neurological problem?

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Medication

Using the Myomancy blogroll and a few other tools I trawl the internet for references to dyslexia, ADHD and everything related. Generally I find nothing of interest but its like beach combing. Amongst all the flotsam and jetsam, something useful occasionally turns up. On a recent search I came across a reference on a blog that I would not normally link to from Myomancy but because they touched on an important issue I will. Its People Having Sex, a Not Safe For Work adult blog, that was looking at Drugs & Sex. One of the drugs they mentioned was Ritalin.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is widely used both legally and illegally. It apparently causes increased or decreased sexual desire dependent on the dosage. At higher doses, it may aggravate premature ejaculation and impotence and cause anxiety

On ADHD fourms (such as ADD Forums) you often find people taking ADHD medication and talking about sexual dysfunction (such as this thread). It seems to be quite a common problem but because most studies are done on children, it isn’t well documented. See Concerta Side Effects, Ritalin Side Effects and Adderall Side Effects for more information on ADHD medication side effects.

The only work I can find on the issues is The Management of Medication-Induced Sexual Dysfunction [ PDF ] which in turn references Methylphenidate and SSRI-Induced sexual side effects. Unfortunately that study is not available online.

The effects that ADHD medication like Ritalin and Adderall have on sex drive and sexual performance is real and is highly disturbing for those it effects. It is an area where more research it definitely needed.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis

Help for ADD has picked up on an interesting study examining how ADHD and Conduct Disorder develop and how positive parenting and parental depression can play a part.

As reported above, even after controlling for other factors that would be expected to predict the development of CD symptoms in children with ADHD – most importantly, the number of CD symptoms at baseline – mothers with current or prior depression had children who developed more CD symptoms over time. And, mothers who displayed high rates of positive parenting behavior during tasks requiring them to obtain their child’s compliance, had children who developed fewer CD symptoms.

Conduct Problems and ADHD: The Role of Mothers’ Depression and Positive Parenting

Also on Myomancy:
Parenting and ADHD

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, ADD / ADHD Medication, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Auditory, Autism, Autism and Mercury, Autism Tests & Diagnosis, Autism Treatment, Balance & Coordination, Books, Commercial Dyslexia Centres & Treatments, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Testing & Diagnosis, Dyslexia Treatment, Dyspraxia, Food and Drink, Franchised Dyslexia Treatments, Games, History, Medication, Memory, Music, Science, Sports, Television, Visual, Web/Tech

Over the last few weeks this website has been attracting comments from various members and ex-members of staff of the Dore Achievement Centres. This has come to the attention of the CEO of UK branch, Bob Clarke, who has posted comments on Myomancy and also to Wynford Dore himself who has phoned me. Conversations with Wynford are always enjoyable but challenging because Wynford believes so passionately about what he does. So when Myomancy runs a negative story about the Dore Program he tends to forget all the places on Myomancy where I’ve said the Dore Program works and that it changes lives.

In light of all this I thought it wise to make a clear statement to all my readers about why I devote a considerable amount of time and money to running Myomancy.

  • The goal of Myomancy is to provide independent information on treatments for dyslexia, ADHD and autism so that parents and sufferers can make an informed choice about what is the best approach for them.
  • Myomancy is a blog, a personal web site. It represents my views and my views alone on all things connected with ADHD, dyslexia and Autism.
  • These views are researched and expressed on Myomancy to the best of my abilities but I am not a scientist, teacher or a professional writer. I am just someone who’s life was changed by the Dore Program and felt a need to express myself.
  • I believe in free speech which is why I allow anyone to post comments on the articles regardless of whether they are for or against my views. Only post that are illegal or purely offensive are removed.
  • Myomancy generates a small amount of income for advertising. I would like it to be more so that I can afford to spend more time on Myomancy. It is up to the reader to decide what, if any, impact that has on the independence of Myomancy.

With reference to the above I have removed one comment from the website that is highly critical of the Dore Program and, based on additional evidence I have at my disposal, is completely false.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis

When does ADD / ADHD start? Is it possible to spot infants that will develop ADHD and what are the signs to look for?

Sleep disorders such as apnea have been linked to ADD / ADHD (ADHD and Sleep Disorders) but can infant sleep patterns be a sign of ADHD in later years? A small study identified 27 infants with severe or chronic sleep problems and then examined them again when they were five and half years old. One in four of the sleep troubled infants developed ADHD. Amongst the general population about 5% or one in twenty children develops ADHD.
By closly examining the difference between those infants with sleep problems that developed ADHD and those that didn’t they found that certain characteristics in infancy were associated with subsequent diagnosis of ADHD:

  • Psychosocial problems in the family
  • Bedtime struggles
  • Long sleep latency at bedtime

The role of psychosocial problems links to research on how parenting style and ADHD are connected. (Parenting and ADHD). The role of parents in ADD / ADHD is a very sensitive area. Parenting a child with ADHD is difficult enough but to then tell the parents that are at least partially to blame is an ethically gray area. An area our next study dive head first into

Sixty six infants, aged seven months, were identified as having a familiar risk of ADHD. This is based on children and adults related to the infant having ADD or ADHD symptoms or signs. Those infants whose fathers displayed the most of symptoms of ADHD were assigned to a ADHD risk group whilst those whose fathers had the least signs of ADHD were placed in a comparison group. The behavior of the two groups was then compared. The ADHD risk group significantly differed from the comparison group on measures of interest, anger, and activity level and showed less interest in block play and more anger. These signs of ADD / ADHD are subtle but they are there in infants. It may be that the best way to deal with ADHD in infants is to treat to the father’s ADHD symptoms.

Amongst the many theories about the causes of ADHD one suspect is dopamine, a neurotransmitter. The role this chemical plays in the brain is complex but it is linked to movement, attention and memory. A Danish study examined six adolescents with ADHD and measured their dopamine receptors. They had an unusually high level of receptors available. The six children had all had the amount of blood flowing through their brains measured when they were new born infants. By comparing the amount dopamine receptors and the brain blood flow when born, the researches found a correlation. The less blood flow in the brain as an infant, the more dopamine receptors there were when adolescent.

Whilst its not possible for the average parent to have a cerebral blood flow check on their new born infants, it does tell us that the neurological building blocks of ADHD are present in new born infants.

These three studies show that it might be possible to spot ADD / ADHD in infants and toddlers. Poor sleep patterns, less focus and more anger are potential signs of later ADHD as are symptoms of ADHD in the behaviour of the parents.

Previously on Myomancy:
Signs of Autism in Toddlers and Infants

Research:
Severe sleep problems in infancy associated with subsequent development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder at 5.5 years of age
ADHD: increased dopamine receptor availability linked to attention deficit and low neonatal cerebral blood flow
Emerging developmental pathways to ADHD: possible path markers in early infancy.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis

At first glance the difference between Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is obvious: Hyperactivity. But is it that simple? Is ADD simply ADHD without the hyperactivity. the DSM-IV (the diagnostic bible) defines three types of ADHD. The predominantly inattentive subtype (ADD), the hyperactive-impulsive subtype (ADHD) and the combined subtype. The combined subtype tends to get rolled up into ADHD.

The research into the difference between the three types is complicated with no clear answer emerging. Some studies have found that people with ADD require more assistance in class and perform less well on certain cognitive tasks. Longitudinal studies on children with ADD or ADHD have found that people with ADD are more likely to suffer anxiety related mental health problems. This may be a natural difference between introverted and extroverted people or it may be directly connect to the ADD.

In a study using actigraphs (watch like devices that measure the amount the wear moves) found no difference between the different sub-types. In fact, during the morning there was no difference between the ADHD children and the non-ADHD children. Only in the afternoon did the non-ADHD children slow down.

The cerebellum and poor motor skills has been linked with ADHD and research suggests that the different types of ADD / ADHD do have different levels of motor skills. An Australian study found that children with ADD and combined ADHD had worse motor control than those with straight ADHD. This may indicate a fundamental difference between the two types or it may be that the hyperactive child’s learns more control over their body because they are moving around more.

There also appears to be a gender difference between ADD and ADHD. Girls are more likely to be diagnosed as ADD than boys. Is this a difference between the ADD and ADHD or is it that in our society it seems as normal for boys to boisterous and girls to sit quietly?

At the moment it is hard to say for certain if ADD really is different from ADHD. Even if they are different, it is not clear if they are subtypes of the same problem or two seperate problems needing different approaches to treatment.

Previously on Myomancy:
Boys, Girls, Reading and ADHD. How They Are Connected
Does ADHD Exist?

Research:
Comprehensive evaluation of attention deficit disorder with and without hyperactivity as defined by research criteria.
Psychiatric, Neuropsychological, and Psychosocial Features of DSM-IV Subtypes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Results From a Clinically Referred Sample.
Does Actigraphy Differentiate ADHD Subtypes in a Clinical Research Setting?
Fine and gross motor ability in males with ADHD
A chart review study of the Inattentive and Combined Types of ADHD