LIQUID XR MED FOR AD/HD. America's Food and Drug Administration has approved a liquid, extended-release version of methylphenediate (Ritalin). The drug is given once a day, in the morning, at dosages starting at 20mg. Read more.
ADDERALL, NO AD/HD. The New York Times writes about doctors prescribing AD/HD meds to children without AD/HD in order to remediate "poor academic performance in inadequate schools." Says one of these prescribing doctors, "We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.” Find the article.
MENTAL ILLNESS AWARENESS WEEK is this week, October 7-13. Articles in the press note that while as many as one in four adults suffer from some form of mental illness, early identification and treatment improves outcomes. Find one such article, or see a TV news station's coverage of the topic. (But watch out for the pesky, loud commercial at the latter link.)
DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE examines how early experiences interact with biology to affect a child's life. Papers from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research provide examples of the kind of research currently underway and what it may tell us about early experience:
- One paper notes, "In adult animals [mice, not humans] that were licked more frequently by their mothers the epigenetic signals enhanced the activity of genes associated with learning and memory." The meaning: social experiences can affect genes that affect cognitive capacity.
- Another study seems to indicate that the way a mother's depression is treated (or not) affects language development in the infant.
- A third paper described how researchers could use a developmental "window" to make mice prefer a shelter with music to one without, a preference typically irreversible -- except that the researchers were able to "rewire" the appropriate brain area in adulthood. The meaning: better understanding these brain mechanisms may lead to better treatment of disorders such as anxiety or autism.
DYSLEXIA TOOLKIT. The National Center for Learning Disabilities offers a Dyslexia Toolkit to help parents and teachers understand, recognize, and deal with dyslexia in the children they raise or teach. Find the toolkit.