A research group from the University of Leeds has shown that infection by the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, found in 10-20 per cent of the UK's population, directly affects the production of dopamine, a key chemical messenger in the brain. Their findings are the first to demonstrate that a parasite found in the brain of mammals can affect dopamine levels. Whilst the work has been carried out with rodents, lead investigator Dr Glenn McConkey of the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences, believes that the findings could ultimately shed new light on treating human neurological disorders that are dopamine-related such as schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson's disease. This research may explain how these parasites, remarkably, manipulate rodents' behaviour for their own advantage.
Good news for parents with over active children, the FDA confirmed that a study, which included more than one million children and young adults (2-24 years), showed that cardiovascular problems are not associated with ADHD medications. Looking at a total of more than 2.5 million person years including nearly 400, 000 person years of individuals currently using the medications, the FDA study found reports of only 7 serious cardiovascular issues. Obviously there are risks with taking any medication, but it appears in the case of commonly prescribed ADHD medicine, that the possibility of a serious cardiovascular event is very small. The drugs included in the study are stimulants amphetamine products and methylphenidate, atomoxetine, and pemoline (which is no longer marketed). Methylphenidate is the pharmaceutica namel for Ritalin which is probably the most commonly known ADHD medicine : This study which is published in the New England Journal of Medicine, did not find an association between use of ADHD medications and cardiovascular events.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) shows that formal training in parenting strategies is a low-risk, effective method for improving preschool-aged children's behavior who are at risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD ), whereas using medication for children below the age of 6 years shows less evidence. The report, entitled "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Effectiveness of Treatment in At-Risk Preschoolers; Long-Term Effectiveness in All Ages; and Variability in Prevalence, Diagnosis, and Treatment, " is a comparative effectiveness review devised for AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program by the McMaster Evidence-based Practice Center in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Formal training in parenting strategies is a low-risk, effective method for improving behavior in preschool-age children at risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD ), while there is less evidence supporting the use of medications for children younger than 6 years old, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The report found that formal parenting interventions known as parent behavior training or PBT are supported by strong evidence for effectiveness for children younger than the age of 6, with no reports of complications or harms. However, one large barrier to the success of PBT is parents who drop out of therapy programs, the report found. For children older than age 6, the report found that methylphenidate (sold under the brand name Ritalin ) and another drug used to treat ADHD symptoms, atomoxetine (sold as Strattera ), are generally safe and effective for improving behavior, but their effects beyond 12 to 24 months have not been well studied.
According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children with certain dopamine system gene variants have an improved response to methylphenidate ( Ritalin ) - the most commonly prescribed medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD ). The discovery could help in selecting the most effective prescribed medications for children with ADHD, thus eliminating guesswork. Researchers tested 89 children with ADHD aged between 7 and 11 years and discovered that those with specific variants of the dopamine transporter (DAT) and dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) genes demonstrated a bigger improvement in hyperactivity and impulsivity after taking methylphenidate compared with children who had alternative DAT and DRD4 versions.