Thursday, October 31, 2013

FDA approved marijuana-based CLINICAL TRIAL to treat Epilepsy

PLEASE NOTE: The FDA has recently approved a clinical trial  or an experiment with a marijuana-base to treat epileptic disorders. The agent has not been approved for clinical use. If interested call the study sponsors below.  JR

The US Federal Drug Association approved clinical studies that aim to determine whether purified cannabidiol (CBD) is a viable anti-seizure treatment. Physician investigators will be provided with Epidiolex, a new 98% CBD product made by GW Pharmaceuticals, and conduct Investigational New Drug studies involving epileptic children.
According to O’Shaughnessy, the clinical studies will be sponsored by Orrin Devinsky, MD, at the NYU School of Medicine, and Roberta Cilio, MD, PhD, at University of California, San Francisco. Both are expected to monitor the progress of 25 patients, but they may enroll more with approval from the FDA. Additionally, Cilio will conduct two individual studies as well.
GW Pharmaceuticals, the British company responsible for the cannabis-based spray Sativex, will provide researchers with their latest “pure CBD” product – Epidiolex. The drug will come in the form of a viscous liquid to be dispensed in syringe droppers. Additionally, there will be two strengths available: 25 milligrams per milliliter and 100 mg/ml.
According to GW, Epidiolex contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic component in cannabis. It is said to contain more than 98% cannabidiol (CBD) and trace amounts of other cannabinoids. GW chairman Geoffrey Guy, MD, told O’Shaughnessy, “Our definition of pure is no THC.”
Guy believes the studies will help provide “better understanding and experience in what cannabidiol does in these different children groups, what benefit we can see, and how the results can best be measured.”
Considering anecdotal evidence that cannabis can help treat epileptic seizures, and nearly 5 years of pre-clinical trial data from GW Pharmaceuticals, Guy expects more studies to come in the future.
“In the coming months, if the FDA is comfortable about how things are going, there will be a number of senior epileptologists in major university centers throughout the U.S., each treating a couple of dozen patients with various epilepsies,” he explained.
Read more here

Lack of sleep is a health issue for adults

This article discusses how lack of sleep is a huge issue for adults, and what those who aren't getting enough sleep should to do fix it.

America is full of sleepy people.
Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but most average between five and six, according to Shari Newman, clinical manager of sleep services at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
“We are sleepier today than we have ever been before,” Newman said. “Sleepy is an epidemic.”
When we are sleepy, we don't exercise as we should. We eat too much thinking it will give us energy to get through the day and we drink coffee and other caffeine-heavy drinks because we need that added boost, which only causes us to have trouble sleeping at night. The problems reoccur the next day.
“Sleepiness is adding to the obesity problem,” said Newman, seated in a room at North Grove Medical Center in Spartanburg. The room resembles a small hotel room instead of a typical doctor's office exam room. A tidy bed with white sheets sits against one wall. A TV sits in one corner. A bathroom, complete with a shower, is connected.
Newman said as many as 3,000 people stay in one of these 12 rooms each year. They come in around 8:30 p.m., go to sleep and leave the next morning around 6:30 a.m. While they sleep, doctors analyze their sleep patterns, studying brain waves and any breathing irregularities. There are 88 types of sleep disorders, Newman said.
The average adult spends a third of his life sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you're 75 years old, that means you have slept for 25 years. How we sleep and how often we sleep affects the other two-thirds of our life, studies say.
Not only can sleepiness lead to obesity, studies have found other relationships between the quantity and quality of one's sleep and health problems. Blood pressure usually falls during the sleep cycle, however, interrupted sleep can adversely affect this normal decline, leading to hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Research has also shown that insufficient sleep impairs the body's ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you're sleepy, you can have a negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job and on the road. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children who do not adhere to a regular bedtime are more likely to exhibit behavior problems during the day.
“We know sleepy folks really are at risk,” Newman said. “You have to plan for good sleep and make sleep the priority it needs to be.”
She adds that you should be able to lie down and go to sleep within 10 minutes and wake up without needing an alarm clock.
“If that's not happening, why? What is going on with your sleep?”
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, consider these tips provided by Spartanburg Regional Sleep Services:
* Lie down when you feel sleepy. If you don't fall asleep within 30 minutes, don't keep looking at the clock. Get up and go to another area where it's nice and quiet and relaxing. When you feel sleepy again, go back to bed. If you keep tossing and turning, you get anxious and frustrated and it's not going to happen.
* Go to sleep and get up at the same time everyday, even on weekends. “A lot of us try to catch up on sleep over the weekends. But sleep is not money, you can't save it up or put it in a bank. You have got to do it everyday.”
* Do not have caffeine within six hours of bedtime. Caffeine is a drug and it takes longer to clear from your system than a lot of people realize.
* Add exercise to your daily schedule. Exercise can deepen your sleep
  • Insulate your room against sound and light
  • Keep your room temperature moderate. Exceedingly warm or cold temperatures can disturb sleep. Generally, we sleep better when it's cooler.
  • Consider eating a light, caffeine-free snack before bedtime. Both hunger and excessive fullness can disturb sleep.
  • Avoid excessive liquids in the evening so you don't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Don't smoke tobacco.
  • Avoid alcohol, especially in the evening. Alcohol may help you fall asleep more easily, your sleep will be disturbed later by the alcohol.
  • Keep work materials such as computers and television out of the bedroom.
Read more here

Treating sleep apnea helps you look younger

This article discusses the benefits to treating sleep apnea, including helping you look younger.

There’s no shortage of reasons to treat obstructive sleep apnea, including your overall health, your ability to function well during the daytime, and even your sex life. Here’s another: treating your sleep apnea will likely improve your appearance. New research indicates that effectively treating sleep apnea with CPAP therapy results in patients looking younger and more attractive.
Researchers at the University of Michigan examined the impact of CPAP therapy for obstructive sleep apnea on patients’ facial appearance, and found noticeable—and measurable—improvements after consistent use of CPAP. The study included 20 adults, 14 men and 6 women, all of whom had obstructive sleep apnea. Researchers took highly detailed 3-dimensional imagesof participants’ faces, both before CPAP treatment began and again after 2 months of regular use of CPAP. Researchers then asked a group of 22 volunteers to assess both the before and after-treatment images. For each sleep apnea patient, volunteers were asked to identify what they believed was the post-treatment image, as well as to compare and rate the before and after pictures for alertness, youthfulness, and attractiveness. Researchers also used 3-D imaging to measure several aspects of appearance, including facial redness and forehead surface volume. They found significant differences to appearance after treatment, according both to volunteers’ impressions and objective measurements:
  • In a significant majority of instances, volunteers were able to correctly identify the post-treatment images of sleep apnea patients
  • Volunteers also were 2 times as likely to rate the post-treatment images as more youthful, more attractive, and more alert looking
  • Image analysis showed that after 2 months of CPAP treatment, facial redness around the eyes and cheeks had diminished
  • Forehead surface area had also decreased after 2 months of CPAP, a finding that researchers suggested may be attributed to changes in fluid circulation at night.
These results illustrate what most of us already know from looking in the mirror, or at the faces of those familiar to us: when we sleep well, we look better. Other recent research has also explored the relationship between sleeping well and looking good, with similar findings:
  • Scientists at the University of Stockholm studied the impact of sleep deprivation on facial appearance. They found sleep-deprived people were observed to have redder and more swollen eyes, hanging eyelids, and darker circles under the eyes, as well as more wrinkles and paler skin. According to the study’s findings, sleep-deprived people also looked sadder than those who were well rested.
  • An earlier Swedish study by some of the same research team also found sleep-deprived people to be perceived by others as less healthy and less attractive than well-rested people.
  • A study commissioned by the cosmetics manufacturer Estée Lauder and conducted by scientists at Cleveland’s University Hospital’s Case Medical Center found that people who slept poorly showed greater signs of skin aging, including more fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and diminished skin elasticity. Poor sleepers also took longer to recover from sunburns and other environmental and stress-related skin damage.
Sufficient amounts of high-quality sleep are critical for cell rejuvenation as well as for healthy immune function, so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing the effects of poor sleep in aging skin and less youthful appearances. One important way that sleep promotes cell restoration and provides boost to the immune system is through the release of the body’s own natural growth hormones. During phases of deep sleep, levels of human growth hormone in the body rise. These hormones play a powerful role in stimulating the immune system and in promoting cellular repair as well as new cell growth.  Poor sleep, and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, diminish both sleep quantity and sleep quality, and can interfere with the body’s ability to rejuvenate cells and bolster immune function. This can result in a less attractive, less youthful appearance.
But the most serious consequences of poor sleep and untreated sleep disorders are more than skin deep. Obstructive sleep apnea, left untreated, is associated with significant risks for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Sleep apnea is also linked to type 2 diabetes and to greater incidence of depression. Patients with sleep apnea are at greater risk foraccident and injury.
CPAP therapy is effective in diminishing and even eliminating sleep apnea symptoms, decreasing these health risks significantly. But many patients who are prescribed CPAP don’t always use the device consistently. For people who are reluctant to use CPAP therapy on a regular basis, these results provide yet another incentive to stick with the treatment. You won’t just feel a difference in your sleep—you’ll see a difference in the way you look.
Our appearance is in so many ways a reflection of our general health and well-being. Sleeping well, and following recommendations made by our doctors for treating sleep disorders can help us look good and feel good.
Read more here

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

POLG1 mutations cause a syndromic epilepsy with occipital lobe predilection.

Why are genetic evaluations important in epilepsy?  Do migraine phenomena overlap with epilepsy? JR

POLG1 mutations cause a syndromic epilepsy with occipital lobe predilection.

Bernt A Engelsen, Charalampos Tzoulis, Bj Karlsen, Atle Lillebø, Liv M Laegreid, Jan Aasly, Massimo Zeviani, Laurence A Bindoff
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  1. Laurence A. Bindoff1,2
  1. 1Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, 2Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway, 3Unit of Molecular Neurogenetics Pierfranco and Luisa Mariana Center for the Study of Children's Mitochondrial Disorders, National Neurological Institute “C.Besta”, via Temolo 4, 20133 Milan, Italy, 4Department of Paediatrics, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen and 5St Olav's Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
  1. Correspondence to: Bernt A. Engelsen and Laurence Bindoff, Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Helse-Bergen, HF. N-5021 Bergen, Norway E-mail: bernt.engelsen{at}helse-bergen.nolaurence.bindoff{at}
  • Received September 27, 2007.
  • Revision received January 4, 2008.
  • Accepted January 8, 2008.


The epileptic semiology of 19 patients (from 15 families) with mitochondrial disease due to mutations in the POLG1 gene is presented. The patients were either homozygous for the 1399G > A (p.A467T) or 2243G > C (p.W748S) mutations or compound heterozygotes for these two mutations. While the clinical features have been reviewed, detailed analysis of their epilepsy is presented for the first time. Irrespective of genotype, patients developed an epileptic syndrome with initial features of occipital lobe epilepsy. Occipital seizure phenomena included flickering coloured light, sometimes persisting for weeks, months or even years, ictal visual loss, horizontal/vertical nystagmus or oculoclonus, dysmorphopsia, micro-/macropsia and palinopsia. Most patients developed simple partial seizure phenomena with motor symptoms suggesting frontal lobe seizure initiation or spread. Simple and complex partial seizures, clonic- and/or myoclonic seizures with epilepsia partialis continua and frequent convulsive status epilepticus were observed in this syndrome that appears to be a symptomatic and secondary generalized or multifocal epilepsy with focal occipital predilection. The mean age of seizure presentation was 18.4 years (6–58 years). All patients developed status epilepticus and 11 patient deaths were, all related to prolonged convulsive status epilepticus, including two with liver failure apparently precipitated by treatment with sodium valproate.
  • Abbreviations:
    status epilepticus
    simple partial seizure
    complex partial seizure
    periodic lateralized epileptic discharges
    secondary generalized tonic–clonic seizures
    epilepsia partialis continua

Random Bedtimes Breed Bad Behavior In Kids

Random Bedtimes Breed Bad Behavior In Kids

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Play now, pay later: consistency matters when it comes to kids and sleep.
Parents learn the hard way that late bedtimes make for cranky kids the next day. But inconsistent bedtimes may have a greater effect on children's behavior, a study says.
Kids who didn't go to bed on a regular schedule had more behavior problems at home and at school. When those children were put to bed at the same time each night, their behavior improved.
That data came from an ongoing study of 10,230 British schoolchildren. Mothers were asked if their child had a regular bedtime during the school week. That information was collected when the children were ages 3, 5 and 7.
The mothers were also asked to complete a standardized test that measures behavior, including conduct problems, hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, problems with peers and positive behavior.
Children who went to bed after 9 p.m. were rated as having more behavior problems than children who went to bed earlier. That's no surprise; there's abundant evidence on the effects of lack of sleep on children's school performance and behavior.
But irregular bedtimes actually caused worse behavior than short sleep.
Teachers were asked to rate some of the children's behavior at age 7. They too reported more behavior problems in children with irregular bedtimes.
The good news is that the behavior problems improved when children were shifted to a more regular schedule. The scientists call that a "clear dose-response pattern." And behavior deteriorated in children who had regular bedtimes at age 5 and were on a more random plan by age 7, the parents said.
The sleep issues could affect behavior in two ways, according to the researchers at University College London. It could mess up children's circadian rhythms, which are slow to change. And it could affect maturing brain regions involved in regulation of behavior.
Pediatricians should ask about irregular bedtimes, the researchers say, not just how many hours a kid is logging.
This study has shortcomings. It doesn't report how much the children actually slept, but rather how much their mothers said they slept. And it could be that the families with random bedtimes had other problems that affected the child's behavior.
Lack of sleep causes health problems in children and adults, including weight gain and insulin resistance.
And regular bedtimes are recommended for adults too, because maintaining a regular circadian rhythmmakes it easier to fall asleep and wake up on time. No word if it makes grownups less cranky. But it probably couldn't hurt.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Prevalence of EEG paroxysmal activity in a population of children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

SleepSleepSleep 2009; 32(4)

Prevalence of EEG paroxysmal activity in a population of children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

Silvia Miano, Maria Chiara Paolino, Rosa Adrados, Marilisa Montesano, Salvatore Barberi, Maria Pia Villa
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Sleep breathing disorders may trigger paroxysmal events during sleep such as parasomnias and may exacerbate preexisting seizures. We verified the hypothesis that the amount of EEG paroxysmal activity (PA) may be high in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).


Prospective study.


Sleep unit of an academic center.


Polysomnographic studies were performed in a population of children recruited prospectively, for suspected OSAS, from January to December 2007, with no previous history of epileptic seizures or any other medical conditions. All sleep studies included > or = 8 EEG channels, including centrotemporal leads. We collected data about clinical and respiratory parameters of children with OSAS and with primary snoring, then we performed sleep microstructure analysis in 2 OSAS subgroups, matched for age and sex, with and without paroxysmal activity.


We found 40 children who met the criteria for primary snoring, none of them showed PA, while 127 children met the criteria for OSAS and 18 of them (14.2%) showed PA. Children with PA were older, had a predominance of boys, a longer duration of OSAS, and a lower percentage of adenotonsillar hypertrophy than children without PA. Moreover, PA occurred over the centrotemporal regions in 9 cases, over temporal-occipital regions in 5, and over frontocentral regions in 4. Children with PA showed a lower percentage of REM sleep, a lower CAP rate and lower A1 index during slow wave sleep, and lower total A2 and arousal index than children without EEG abnormalities.


We found a higher percentage of paroxysmal activity in children with OSAS, compared to children with primary snoring, who did not exhibit EEG abnormalities. The children with paroxysmal activity have peculiar clinical and sleep microstructure characteristics that may have implications in the neurocognitive outcome of OSAS.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Retired American football players have unusual brain scans

A study of brain scans of retired American football players with no known neurological conditions shows their brain activity is very different than expected.

A new study has discovered profound abnormalities in brain activity in a group of retired American football players.
Although the former players in the study were not diagnosed with any neurological condition, brain imaging tests revealed unusual activity that correlated with how many times they had left the field with a head injury during their careers.
Previous research has found that former American football players experience higher rates of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The new findings, published in Scientific Reports, suggest that players also face a risk of subtle neurological deficits that don't show up on normal clinical tests.
The study involved 13 former National Football League (NFL) professionals who believed they were suffering from neurological problems affecting their everyday lives as a consequence of their careers.
The former players and 60 healthy volunteers were given a test that involved rearranging coloured balls in a series of tubes in as few steps as possible. Their brain activity was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they did the test.
The NFL group performed worse on the test than the healthy volunteers, but the difference was modest. More strikingly, the scans showed unusual patterns of brain activity in the frontal lobe. The difference between the two groups was so marked that a computer programme learned to distinguish NFL alumni and controls at close to 90 per cent accuracy based just on their frontal lobe activation patterns.
"The NFL alumni showed some of the most pronounced abnormalities in brain activity that I have ever seen, and I have processed a lot of patient data sets in the past," said Dr Adam Hampshire, lead author of the study, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London.
The frontal lobe is responsible for executive functions: higher-order brain activity that regulates other cognitive processes. The researchers think the differences seen in this study reflect deficits in executive function that might affect the person's ability to plan and organise their everyday lives.
"The critical fact is that the level of brain abnormality correlates strongly with the measure of head impacts of great enough severity to warrant being taken out of play. This means that it is highly likely that damage caused by blows to the head accumulate towards an executive impairment in later life."
Dr Hampshire and his colleagues at the University of Western Ontario, Canada suggest that fMRI could be used to reveal potential neurological problems in American football players that aren't picked up by standard clinical tests. Brain imaging results could be useful to retired players who are negotiating compensation for neurological problems that may be related to their careers. Players could also be scanned each season to detect problems early.
The findings also highlight the inadequacy of standard cognitive tests for detecting certain types of behavioural deficit.
"Researchers have put a lot of time into developing tests to pick up on executive dysfunction, but none of them work at all well. It's not unusual for an individual who has had a blow to the head to perform relatively well on a neuropsychological testing battery, and then go on to struggle in everyday life.
"The results tell us something very interesting about the human brain, which is that after damage, it can work harder and bring extra areas on line in order to cope with cognitive tasks. It is likely that in more complicated real world scenarios, this plasticity is insufficient and consequently, the executive impairment is no longer masked. In this respect, the results are also of relevance to other patients who suffer from multiple head injuries.
"Of course, this is a relatively preliminary study. We really need to test more players and to track players across seasons using brain imaging."
Read more here

Study claims toxins are eliminated by brain during sleep

A new study using mice showed that the brain clears out toxins from itself during sleep.

A good night's rest may literally clear the mind. Using mice, researchers showed for the first time that the space between brain cells may increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out toxins that build up during waking hours. These results suggest a new role for sleep in health and disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the NIH.

"Sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain. It appears to be a completely different state," said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and a leader of the study.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have wondered why people sleep and how it affects the brain. Only recently have scientists shown that sleep is important for storing memories. In this study, Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues unexpectedly found that sleep may be also be the period when the brain cleanses itself of toxic molecules.

Their results, published in Science, show that during sleep a plumbing system called the glymphatic system may open, letting fluid flow rapidly through the brain. Dr. Nedergaard's lab recently discovered the glymphatic system helps control the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

"It's as if Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues have uncovered a network of hidden caves and these exciting results highlight the potential importance of the network in normal brain function," said Roderick Corriveau, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS.

Initially the researchers studied the system by injecting dye into the CSF of mice and watching it flow through their brains while simultaneously monitoring electrical brain activity. The dye flowed rapidly when the mice were unconscious, either asleep or anesthetized. In contrast, the dye barely flowed when the same mice were awake.

"We were surprised by how little flow there was into the brain when the mice were awake," said Dr. Nedergaard. "It suggested that the space between brain cells changed greatly between conscious and unconscious states."

To test this idea, the researchers used electrodes inserted into the brain to directly measure the space between brain cells. They found that the space inside the brains increased by 60 percent when the mice were asleep or anesthetized.

"These are some dramatic changes in extracellular space," said Charles Nicholson, Ph.D., a professor at New York University's Langone Medical Center and an expert in measuring the dynamics of brain fluid flow and how it influences nerve cell communication.

Certain brain cells, called glia, control flow through the glymphatic system by shrinking or swelling. Noradrenaline is an arousing hormone that is also known to control cell volume. Similar to using anesthesia, treating awake mice with drugs that block noradrenaline induced unconsciousness and increased brain fluid flow and the space between cells, further supporting the link between the glymphatic system and consciousness.

Previous studies suggest that toxic molecules involved in neurodegenerative disorders accumulate in the space between brain cells. In this study, the researchers tested whether the glymphatic system controls this by injecting mice with labeled beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, and measuring how long it lasted in their brains when they were asleep or awake. Beta-amyloid disappeared faster in mice brains when the mice were asleep, suggesting sleep normally clears toxic molecules from the brain.

"These results may have broad implications for multiple neurological disorders," said Jim Koenig, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS. "This means the cells regulating the glymphatic system may be new targets for treating a range of disorders."

The results may also highlight the importance of sleep.

"We need sleep. It cleans up the brain," said Dr. Nedergaard.

Read more here

Study: Sunny climates may reduce ADHD

A study indicates many risk factors for ADHD, and interestingly notes that sunny and warm climates may reduce the condition.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is the most common childhood psychiatric disorder. Scientists do not know what causes it, but genetics play a clear role. Other risk factors have also been identified, including premature birth, low birth weight, a mother's use of alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy, and environmental exposures to toxins like lead.
ADHD is characterized by an inability to focus, poor attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior, and the normal process of brain maturation is delayed in children with ADHD. Many individuals with ADHD also report sleep-related difficulties and disorders. In fact, sleep disorder treatments and chronobiological interventions intended to restore normal circadian rhythms, including light exposure therapy, have been shown to improve ADHD symptoms.
Estimates suggest that the average worldwide prevalence of ADHD ranges from about 5 to 7%, but it also varies greatly by region. A simple visual comparison of data maps released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Energy that display ADHD prevalence rates by state and solar intensities (sunlight) across the country, respectively, reveals an interesting pattern indicative of an association. So does this mean that there could be an identifiable relationship between ADHD prevalence rates and the sunlight intensity levels of particular regions?
The accumulation of these points led Dr. Martijn Arns and his colleagues to systematically and scientifically investigate this question. They collected and analyzed multiple data-sets from the United States and 9 other countries. Reporting their findings in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, they did find a relationship between solar intensity and ADHD prevalence.
Even after controlling for factors that are known to be associated with ADHD, both U.S. and non-U.S. regions with high sunlight intensity have a lower prevalence of ADHD, suggesting that high sunlight intensity may exert a 'protective' effect for ADHD.
To further validate their work, they also looked at this same relationship with autism and major depressive disorder diagnoses. They found that the findings were specific to ADHD, with no associations observed between the other two disorders.
"The reported association is intriguing, but it raises many questions that have no answers," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "Do sunny climates reduce the severity or prevalence of ADHD and if so, how? Do people prone to develop ADHD tend to move away from sunny climates and if so, why?"
As with all scientific research, further work is necessary, including a prospective replication of these findings. It is also important to realize that this data reflects only an association -- not a causation -- between ADHD and solar intensity levels so worried parents should not start planning cross-country moves.
However, these findings do have significant implications, explains Dr. Arns. "From the public health perspective, manufacturers of tablets, smartphones and PCs could investigate the possibility of time-modulated color-adjustment of screens, to prevent unwanted exposure to blue light in the evening."
"These results could also point the way to prevention of a sub-group of ADHD, by increasing the exposure to natural light during the day in countries and states with low solar intensity. For example, skylight systems in classrooms and scheduling playtime in line with the biological clock could be explored further."
Read more here

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sleep apnea risk factors

This article discusses different risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a deadly sleep disorder. Those with obstructive sleep apnea may feel lethargic after a good night's sleep or you may snore loudly. But, there are certain risk factors associated with obstructive sleep apnea. We explore these risk factors.
Risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea:
1) Age: Obstructive sleep apnea is mainly associated with age. Those above 60 are prone to obstructive sleep apnea, but there are other risk factors that bring down the age group for sleep apnea.
2) Males: Having the X and Y chromosomes can make you prone to obstructive sleep apnea.Yes, males have a higher chance of developing apnea.
3) Weight: Excessive weight can result in obstructive sleep apnea. Over weight individuals tend to have thicker necks which make it difficult to breath. But obstructive sleep disorder can also affect individuals who are thin.
4) Genes: Family history of obstructive sleep disorder and narrow airway that you may have inherited are risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea.
5) Menopause: Though obstructive sleep apnea is prone to men, it can affect women after their menopause, especially is they are overweight.
6) Difficulty is breathing: Individuals who have nasal congestion and allergies associated with the respiration system are likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. But it also depends on the breathing with correlation to the above mentioned risk factors.
7) Smoking: Smoking tends to build up water in the upper airway and also results in inflammation of the air way. These are the risk factors of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
8) Relaxed muscles: Sedatives that relaxes the muscles is a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea.
Read more here

Why childhood concussions are concerning for parents

This article discusses symptoms of childhood concussions and what should be done to treat

Kids will be kids — running around, scraping knees and occasionally bonking their heads on the table. But what if a more serious head injury occurs? How do these injuries affect a still-growing brain?
Health officials recommend precautions like using seat belts, wearing helmets and practicing other safe habits in order to prevent childhood concussions.
According to the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), concussions technically involve a short loss of normal brain function after a head injury, but the term is often used by people to describe any minor head or brain injury.
Concussions often occur as sports injuries, or after a blow to the head or hitting the head during a fall.
Concussion symptoms might not start immediately after the injury occurs and may even take weeks or days to develop. Common symptoms include headache, neck pain, nausea, ringing in the ears, dizziness, tiredness or generally feeling "in a daze."
"Doctors use a neurologic exam and imaging tests to diagnose a concussion," wrote NLM. "Most people recover fully after a concussion, but it can take some time. Rest is very important after a concussion because it helps the brain to heal."
According to the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI), organizers of World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day, as many as 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur every year in the US.
"The effect of concussion on developing brains is of particular concern," explained USBJI. "Children with concussion, particularly multiple concussions, are at high risk for developing headaches and suffering from impaired memory, cognitive function, attention, or other behavioral changes. Concussions occur in all sports with the highest incidence in football, hockey, rugby, soccer, and basketball."
In an interview with dailyRx News, Kevin Crutchfield, MD, Director of the Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute of LifeBridge Health in Baltimore, Maryland, agreed that concussions in children are more worrisome.
"Every time you have a concussive blow to the head, you are killing brain tissue," said Dr. Crutchfield. "If that tissue is still developing, you actually start to limit the capacity of the brain."
Dr. Crutchfield explained that the brain grows and develops by creating a network of connections. And brain cells that are damaged through injury are unable to form connections as a part of this growth process.
"We don't know for sure the ramifications of this, but we can assume that a child with damage to the brain's tissue may not be able to do cognitive tasks they might have been able to do otherwise," said Dr. Crutchfield.
Dr. Crutchfield also warned that brain swelling is a bigger risk for children who experience a concussion than it is for older patients.
"The biggest piece of advice I can give to parents is, if your kids are participating in any activity (sports or otherwise) where they are getting recurrent injuries, they aren't doing it safely and maybe it's not the best activity for them," Dr. Crutchfield told dailyRx News. He mentioned that kids, like adults, have different builds and bodies and what is safe and healthy for some is not always safe and healthy for others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that parents make sure their child wears a seatbelt when riding in a car and uses a child safety seat or booster seat as necessary. CDC also recommends that helmets be worn during activities like riding a bike or scooter, using skates or a skateboard, riding a horse, skiing, batting or running bases in baseball or softball and while playing a contact sport like football, ice hockey or boxing.
NLM recommends seeking medical attention if symptoms of a concussion get worse or include things like seizures, trouble walking or sleeping, weakness, numbness, troubles with coordination, continued vomiting or nausea, confusion or slurred speech.
Read more here

Study: Migraine sufferers are twice as likely to also have depression

A study claims that depression is twice as likely in people who suffer from migraines in comparison to those who do not.
People who suffer from migraines are about twice as likely to be depressed and have suicidal thoughts, according to Canadian researchers, who say women and young people with migraines are particularly vulnerable to what Winston Churchill has called “the black dog” of depression.
Researchers at the University of Toronto surveyed more than 67,000 Canadians, over 6,000 of those reporting they had been diagnosed with migraine by a health care professional.
Both women and men with migraine were more than twice as likely to suffer from depression as those without the disease (women: 12.4% vs. 5.7%; men: 8.4% vs. 3.4%).
Serious thoughts of suicide – also known as suicide ideation – were also more common for migraine sufferers (women: 17.6% versus 9.1%; men: 15.6% versus 7.9%). Migraine sufferers under the age of 30 had four times the odds of suicidal ideation than those 65 and over.
Previous studies have also shown a link between migraines, suicide and depression, but this is one of the first to dig deeper and look at other factors associated with the comorbidities.  The study is published online in the journalDepression Research and Treatment.
Among both women and men with migraine, being younger, unmarried, poor, or disabled increased the odds of depression – in some cases dramatically. Single people with migraine were found to have 50% and 70% higher odds of depression and suicidal thoughts.
“The vulnerability of young people with migraine to depression and suicidal ideation is particularly worrying. For both genders, migraineurs under the age of 30 had at least six times the odds of current depression and four times the odds of lifetime suicidal ideation when compared to those aged 65 and above,” wrote lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, a professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto.
“Older migraineurs, by contrast, have had a longer time to adjust to their condition, for example, by learning effective coping mechanisms or achieving adequate treatment, which may reduce the perceived burden of their illness.”
The first onset of migraine is typically experienced in late adolescence and early adulthood. The researchers believe diagnosis of migraine at a young age may interfere with normal developmental processes, such as obtaining an education, building a career, and starting a family.
“We are not sure why younger migraineurs have such a high likelihood of depression and suicidal ideation. It may be that younger people with migraines have not yet managed to find adequate treatment or develop coping mechanisms to minimize pain and the impact of this chronic illness on the rest of their lives,” said study co-author and former graduate student Meghan Schrumm.
The researchers say health care providers treating patients with migraine should be alert to signs of depression, particularly if the patient is younger and single.
“Informing a wider range of health professionals and migraine sufferers themselves about the patterns of depression and suicidal ideation surrounding age, marital status, and activity limitations may help to increase awareness of the comorbidities of migraine and empower migraineurs to come forward with their mental health concerns,” said Fuller-Thomson.
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