Since knowledge is power, it’s worth staying informed about some of the latest AD/HD research findings. Here are a few of my favorites, which combine an “oh duh” component with a dash of “what a good idea.”
The “oh duh” category of investigation is research that confirms things some of us had already figured out. This category of research can help educate a wider audience who is less familiar with AD/HD. This includes friends, family, and schoolmates. Helping others understand the condition helps everyone. And even if the results seem kind of obvious, it helps to know that common sense observations of AD/HD are backed by solid research.
The “oh duh” category topic number one: girls have a harder time than boys in getting sufficient attention about their symptoms of, or concerns about, AD/HD. As far as I can tell, this is the “squeaky wheel” model of getting attention. Of all children with AD/HD, boys are more likely to be hyperactive, while girls are more likely to be primarily inattentive–that is, to daydream. It is easy to ignore girls who daydream quietly, and it is hard to ignore the boys bouncing off the walls. For that matter, it is easy to ignore boys who daydream. I am looking forward to finding out whether boys with the day-dream model of AD/HD have the same problem as girls in getting attention for concerns about AD/HD . . . What that means is that you need to make sure someone listens if you are having a hard time–especially if you are a girl with AD/HD!
Another study that is good to know about: researchers have identified a group of genetic markers that are common in people with AD/HD. That means that the condition is built-in–genetic–rather than some kind of willfully disruptive or spacey behavior. For me, this is another “oh-duh” kind of research, but it helps to know this when talking to others when the subject of AD/HD arises. I especially like what neuroscientist Dr. John Williams says about these findings on the genetic component of AD/HD: “These findings […] prove the often unfashionable theory that ADHD is a brain disorder with genetic links.” It’s great that a scientist characterized AD/HD as unfashionable–such a great perspective about the negativity some people have around AD/HD.
Another study, this one in the “what-a-good-idea category,” shows that it’s good to be green when you have AD/HD–that is, it helps to spend time outdoors. (This study does not count playing video games on the front porch as time spent outdoors.) Managing AD/HD symptoms using exercise helps–but this can be accomplished indoors. Being outdoors is an extra bonus–fewer AD/HD symptoms are experienced by people who spend time outside. So if you want to help manage some of the symptoms of AD/HD, go outside and go green, spending time with trees and grass.
Researching the research helps us know more about AD/HD. It is easier to move ahead once we understand the science underlying the condition and once we can explain it to others who may be less informed. The short version of this article, (ahem) for those of us with attention problems:
- For children with AD/HD, boys are more likely to be hyperactive, while girls are more likely to have a primary symptom of day dreaming–that is, having problems in paying attention.
- Girls have to work harder to get attention for their AD/HD than boys with AD/HD do.
- AD/HD is highly hereditable–in other words, it’s genetic.
- And finally–go outside! It helps.
“Girls with Autism or ADHD Symptoms Not Taken Seriously, Study Suggests,” ScienceDaily.com, 10/4/10.
“First Direct Evidence that ADHD is a Genetic Disorder: Children with ADHD More Likely to have Missing or Duplicated Segments of DNA,” ScienceDaily.com, 9/29/10.
“For Kids with ADHD, Regular ‘Green Time’ is Linked to Milder Symptoms.” Science News section of ScienceDaily.com, 9/15/11.
Note: These studies have been referenced because they are available for free on the internet. Lots of other research is available, but to read it you must have a subscription or pay to see the report.