Omega-3 levels may help ADHD symptoms

As reported in 2013 research, Omega-3 supplements may improve ADHD symptoms.

Increased omega-3 levels may boost behavior, attention, and literacy in ADHD children: Study

By Stephen DANIELLS, 19-Nov-2013

Increasing the levels of DHA and EPA omega-3s in red blood cells by dietary supplementation may improve attention, literacy, and behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), says a new study from Australia.


Personalized approach enhances communication skills in children with autism

As reported in Science Daily:  Personalized approach enhances communication skills in children with autism.

Summary:  The communication skills of minimally verbal children with autism can be greatly improved through personalized interventions that are combined with the use of computer tablets, researchers report. The three-year study examined different approaches to improving communication abilities among children with autism spectrum disorder and minimal verbal skills. Approximately 30 percent of children with ASD overall remain minimally verbal even after years of intervention.
The full research source is:
Connie Kasari, Ann Kaiser, Kelly Goods, Jennifer Nietfeld, Pamela Mathy, Rebecca Landa, Susan Murphy, Daniel Almirall. Communication Interventions for Minimally Verbal Children With Autism: A Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2014; 53 (6): 635 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.01.019


This study tested the effect of beginning treatment with a speech-generating device (SGD) in the context of a blended, adaptive treatment design for improving spontaneous, communicative utterances in school-aged, minimally verbal children with autism.


A total of 61 minimally verbal children with autism, aged 5 to 8 years, were randomized to a blended developmental/behavioral intervention (JASP+EMT) with or without the augmentation of a SGD for 6 months with a 3-month follow-up. The intervention consisted of 2 stages. In stage 1, all children received 2 sessions per week for 3 months. Stage 2 intervention was adapted (by increased sessions or adding the SGD) based on the child’s early response. The primary outcome was the total number of spontaneous communicative utterances; secondary measures were the total number of novel words and total comments from a natural language sample.


Primary aim results found improvements in spontaneous communicative utterances, novel words, and comments that all favored the blended behavioral intervention that began by including an SGD (JASP+EMT+SGD) as opposed to spoken words alone (JASP+EMT). Secondary aim results suggest that the adaptive intervention beginning with JASP+EMT+SGD and intensifying JASP+EMT+SGD for children who were slow responders led to better posttreatment outcomes.


Minimally verbal school-aged children can make significant and rapid gains in spoken spontaneous language with a novel, blended intervention that focuses on joint engagement and play skills and incorporates an SGD. Future studies should further explore the tailoring design used in this study to better understand children’s response to treatment.

Diagnosing ADHD in the Very Young

As reported on Medscape, a new study evaluates diagnosing ADHD in young children.  Fortunately, with QEEGs (brainmaps) as part of the case evaluation process, at Applied Neurotherapy Center, it’s much less important to identify what label to use, and easier learn what can be done to resolve the symptoms with neurofeedback.  Click here to find out more about neurofeedback at ANC.

Research: ADHD Meds May Double Cardiovascular Event Risk in Kids

New research reports ADHD meds may double cardiovascular event risk in kids.  As reported by Medscape Medical News ( a recent study found:

“The use of psychostimulants in children and adolescents is associated with nearly twice the risk for a cardiovascular event compared with nonuse of the drugs, and the risk is even higher when the drugs are used for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), new research suggests. However, some experts are questioning whether these findings are clinically meaningful.”

The full open access article can be found here:  Cardiovasular Safety Stimulants in ADHD_Dalsgaard

The abstract of the article:

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether stimulant users are at higher risk of a later cardiovascular event than are non-users, examining this association in both a national cohort and a population-based sample of children and adolescents diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We also aim to examine a possible dose-response relationship in such an association.

Methods: We conducted a longitudinal, prospective cohort study of all children born in Denmark between 1990 and 1999. Within this cohort, children with ADHD were identified. Data from national health registers on psychiatric and somatic diagnoses, stimulant prescriptions, cardiovascular risk factors, pre- and perinatal and sociodemographic covariates in all children and their parents were merged, using the unique personal identification number. Hazard ratios (HR) for cardiovascular events were estimated using Cox regression, adjusted for other known risk factors.

Results: In the total population (n=714,258 contributing a total of 6,767,982 person-years) use of stimulants increased the risk of a cardiovascular event; adjusted HR=1.83 (1.10–3.04). In children with ADHD (n=8300) stimulant treatment also increased the risk of a cardiovascular event (adjusted HR=2.20 [2.15–2.24]), with a complex time-dependent dose-response relationship.

Conclusions: This is the first nationwide cohort study of the cardiovascular safety of stimulants in children and adolescents, and it represents, to our knowledge, the longest prospective follow-up study. Cardiovascular events were rare but twice as likely in stimulant users as in non-users, both in the total national population and in children with ADHD. We found a complex, time- and dose-dependent interrelationship between cardiovascular adverse events and stimulant treatment in children and adolescents. Our results suggest a safety signal with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with stimulant treatment in children and adolescents, even after adjusting for a number of potential confounders.

Research: Lack of sleep ages the brain

Research indicates lack of sleep ages the brain.  Science Daily reports:  Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of Singapore’s rapidly ageing society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

The abstract of the full research article (from

Study Objectives:

To investigate the contribution of sleep duration and quality to age-related changes in brain structure and cognitive performance in relatively healthy older adults.


Community-based longitudinal brain and cognitive aging study using a convenience sample.


Participants were studied in a research laboratory.


Relatively healthy adults aged 55 y and older at study commencement.

Measurements and Results:

Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological assessment every 2 y. Subjective assessments of sleep duration and quality and blood samples were obtained. Each hour of reduced sleep duration at baseline augmented the annual expansion rate of the ventricles by 0.59% (P = 0.007) and the annual decline rate in global cognitive performance by 0.67% (P = 0.050) in the subsequent 2 y after controlling for the effects of age, sex, education, and body mass index. In contrast, global sleep quality at baseline did not modulate either brain or cognitive aging. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of systemic inflammation, showed no correlation with baseline sleep duration, brain structure, or cognitive performance.


In healthy older adults, short sleep duration is associated with greater age-related brain atrophy and cognitive decline. These associations are not associated with elevated inflammatory responses among short sleepers.


Lo JC, Loh KK, Zheng H, Sim SK, Chee MW. Sleep duration and age-related changes in brain structure and cognitive performance. SLEEP 2014;37(7):1171-1178.