ADHD and Chiropractic

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  • ADHD A CHIROPRACTIC PERSPECTIVE Martin Rosen, DC, CSPP 471 Washington St. Wellesley, MA. 02482 781.237.6673 . [email_address]
  • There is a disturbing statistical trend concerning autism, mental retardation, speech and language disability, and learning disabilities (including ADHD) in the state of California. Specifically, between 2000 and 2007 autism incidences increased 229%, mental retardation increased 6%, and speech and language disability increased 7%. In 2007 the number of children with autism was officially recorded as 46,196; the number of children with mental retardation was 43,113; the number with speech and language disability was 176,265; and the number with learning disabilities was 297,933.
  • According to the February 2002 issue of CNS Drugs, the diagnosis of ADHD grew 250% between 1990 and 1998. The number of children in special education programs classified with learning disabilities increased 191% between 1977 and 1994, according to an article in Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities, Volume 12, published in 1998.
  • According to the FDA, ADHD affects about 3 to 7 percent of all school-aged children and about 4 percent of adults. It causes difficulty in maintaining concentration, hyperactivity and impulsiveness leading to difficulty in school, at work and in social interactions. In 2006 approximately 4.5 million children were diagnosed with ADHD that number is now estimated to by around 8 million. (19,20) In 2006 approximately 2.5 million children and 1.5 million adults in the United States take medication to treat ADHD that number has now doubled. The number of adults between the ages of 20 and 44 taking ADHD medications increased more than 139 percent between 2000 and 2005.
    • These disorders have an enormous impact on families and society. According to the 1996 book Learning Disabilities: Lifelong Issues, children with these disorders have higher rates of mental illness and suicide, and are more likely to engage in substance abuse and to commit crimes as adults.
    • A classroom with 30 students will have between 1 and 3 children with ADHD.
    • Boys are diagnosed with ADHD 3 times more often than girls.
    • Emotional development in children with ADHD is 30% slower than in their non-ADHD peers.
    • One fourth of children with ADHD have serious learning disabilities such as: oral expression, listening skills, reading comprehension and/or math.
    • 65% of children with ADHD exhibit problems in defiance or problems with authority figures. This can include verbal hostility and temper tantrums.
    • 75% of boys diagnosed with ADD/ADHD have hyperactivity.
    • 60% of girls diagnosed with ADD/ADHD have hyperactivity.
    • 50% of children with ADHD experience sleep problems.
    • Teenagers with ADHD have almost four times as many traffic citations as non-ADD/ADHD drivers. They have four times as many car accidents and are seven times more likely to have a second accident.
    • 21% of teens with ADHD skip school on a regular basis, and 35% drop out of school before finishing high school.
    • 45% of children with ADHD have been suspended from school at least once.
    • 30% of children with ADHD have either repeated a year in school
    Diagnosis of ADHD increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006.
  • ADHD and LD are among the most prevalent and widely researched diagnoses of U.S. children. The economic effect of these conditions on families, schools, and the health care system is substantial. A recent review, using conservative prevalence estimates, calculated the annual societal cost of illness for ADHD to be between $36 and $52 billion in 2005 dollars (12). Additionally, a recent national survey of special education students showed that children with ADHD are a rapidly growing group of students within special education programs (13).
  • About 17% of school-age children in the United States suffer from a disability that affects their behavior, memory, or ability to learn, according to a study published in the March 1994 issue of Pediatrics by a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The list of maladies includes attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autistic spectrum disorders, epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, and less specific conditions such as mental retardation and cerebral palsy. All are believed to be the outcome of some abnormal process that unfolded as the brain was developing in utero or in the young child.
  • ADHD is a persistent and frequent pattern of developmentally inappropriate inattention and impulsivity, with or without hyperacvity. (8) While organic factors may play a role in the diagnosis of ADHD, there is little evidence that children with ADHD have any real organic clinical findings since evaluations usually focus on brain function. The major factors in diagnosis are behavioral and visual-motor tasks. (11)
  • Childhood ADHD is diagnosed after a child has shown six or more specific symptoms of inactivity and/or hyperactivity on a regular basis for more than six months in more than two settings. There is no single test for ADHD. QEEGs have shown that children with ADHD have an increased number of lower range theta waves in a conscious state than found in the normal population. Persons with ADHD, learning disabilities, and head injuries tend to have excess slow brain waves (usually delta, slow theta, and sometimes excess alpha).
  • When excess slow wave activity is present in the executive (frontal) part of the brain, it is difficult to control attention, behavior, and emotions. Such persons may have serious problems with concentration, memory, controlling impulses and moods, or with hyperactivity. They cant focus well and exhibit diminished intellectual efficiency. (17)
  • Another prevalent theory states that when the two sides of the brain do not mature at the same rate, the electrical impulses between the two sides get out of balance and interfere with communication. Proof now exists that this communication problem is responsible for a myriad of behavioral, social and learning difficulties. Most notably Autism, ADHD, Aspergers syndrome and dyslexia. (18)
    • Physical diagnosis occurs when these children exhibit:
      • Constant motion
      • Squirm and fidget.
      • Do not seem to listen.
      • Have difficulty playing quietly.
      • Often talk excessively.
      • Interrupt or intrude on others
      • Are easily distracted.
      • Do not finish tasks.
    • Some causes of ADHD like behavior or triggers for ADHD are:
        • A sudden life change (divorce, death in family, moving)
        • Undetected seizures
        • Medical disorders affecting brain function
        • Anxiety
        • Depression
        • Inappropriate, lack of, or overabundance of neurotransmitter chemicals.
          • These are susceptible to such things as fatigue, essential fatty acid and micronutrient deficits, oxygen deprivation, toxic chemicals and drugs
        • Genetic predisposition (it is important to note that this is usually triggered by an external source)
  • The late past president of the American Public Health Association Helen Rodriquez-Trias was among the first to recognize the importance of chiropractic care of infants and children. As a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics and former Director of Pediatrics at Lincoln Hospital in New York, she indicated in her Forward to a new textbook on chiropractic from children she accepted her invitation to write this treatise with both gladness and trepidation. Gladness because she firmly believed that chiropractic fundamentally promotes health for children; trepidation because as a pediatrician she has been indoctrinated to totally reject chiropractic and chiropractors, and who overcame prejudice and fear only two decades ago through my own direct experience. (16)
    • Chiropractics main concern is the evaluation of the spine and central nervous system to detect structural