Taking academic test is an unavoidable part of modern society.
Whether you’re a child or adult with an attention deficit disorder,
learning disability or simply want to improve your chances of scoring
higher on a particular examination the following information may be
beneficial for you. Two functions that are typically necessary in a
test taking situation are short term memory and working memory. Short
term memory is the ability to retain small amounts of information in
and at hand along with attainable condition for short periods. Working
memory also requires short term storage of information, but in
addition requires the ability to manipulate that information. As an
example, tests for short term memory is require the immediately call
of random numbers. Typically, one can remember approximately seven
numbers in this fashion (i.e. a phone number). Working memory is
normally required in order to do complex and multi step tasks.
A study recently published in the Indian Journal of Pediatrics found that ”
iron and zinc deficiency is associated with memory deficits in
children.” The study also found when these children were supplemented
with iron and zinc there was significant improvement. Another study
published in November of 2010 in the Journal of Human
Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental found that”caffeine
and glucose can have beneficial effects on cognitive performance.”
Therefore, there are two possible factors which may improve
performance in test taking situations. Iron and zinc levels of
measured by serum analysis and can be done at any standard laboratory.
This testing can be ordered by your physician and appropriate
supplementation can be instituted and monitored. Glucose levels can
also be monitored by standard laboratory analysis.
Functional medicine practitioners are always more cognizant of nutritional protocols.
There are specialty lab test to measure caffeine clearance. Of
course, when instituting any type of glucose protocol the patient and their
doctor should be aware of any type of hypoglycemic or insulin
resistance which the patient may have. In conclusion, if this article
peaks your interest, contact your primary care physician or a
functional medicine practitioner for further consultation on this
A.D.H.D, attention deficit hyperactive disorder currently affects 5 to 10% of school age children in the United States. Your child may have ADHD if he has difficulty focusing, difficulty waiting in line, interrupts conversations, has difficulty keeping still, cannot remain seated in the classroom, is easily distracted, procrastinates, makes careless mistakes with schoolwork or homework and is disorganized. Children with ADHD tend to have difficulty in school and at times socializing with others. Approximately 50% of children with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD. The same issues make it more difficult to obtain and sustain employment as adults. A recent study in the scientific journal Attention Deficit Disorder found two factors associated with ADHD which everyone concerned with this condition should be a aware of especially since these factors are modifiable. Specifically, the study found a more than two fold increase in the incidence of ADHD from mothers who smoked during their pregnancy. Obviously, if your child has already been born and has ADHD, you can not go back in time. However, if you’re an expectant mother or planning to have children and are concerned about having a child with ADHD then not smoking during pregnancy should be a top priority for you. If you have a child that has ADHD you should be aware that this study also found the rate of children with ADHD is five times as great in children with obesity. Thus, if you are pregnant and smoke or your child is overweight, these are issues that are difficult to deal with but will certainly make a difference over your child’s lifetime and is worth putting in the effort.
Many children on the Autism Spectrum have difficulty recognizing emotional cues such as nonverbal expressions which are thought to be conveyed through the eyes as well as connecting with others emotionally on an interpersonal basis. A large part of communication between humans is nonverbal communication. This means to say that it is not just the words that are spoken but in addition how they are spoken, inflection, as well hand gestures, body postures and facial expression. The inability to recognize faces and facial expression is called prosopagnosia. This inability to interpret facial expressions often leads to difficulty in social situations with others. It is also been thought to be involved with a lack of empathy toward others which also is at times associated with autism. The area of the brain most associated with prosopagnosia is the fusiform gyrus of the temporal lobe. Although it is thought that the fusiform gyrus has a specific face area, it is also thought to be responsible for things such as processing of color information as well as number and word recognition. As an example, people with prosopagnosia can recognize a different pens or forks but not faces. Until recently it was thought that propsopagnosia or face blindness and is is sometimes called could not be improved. Instead, patients were taught techniques to compensate for the face recognition deficiency such as looking at clothing, voice or hair color in order to attempt to identify who the patient was speaking with. A recent study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders published out of the University of Alabama Birmingham used a computer based social skills training program for children with autism spectrum disorders. This interactive program showed a positive impact in a group with Autism and a group with Asperger’s Syndrome. Both groups showed improvement in the ability to recognize faces as well as improvements in the ability to recognize emotion. The Asperger’s group also showed improvement in social interactions in a natural environment. This should come as great news to parents who see their children have difficulty making friends and struggle while attempting to socialize at school or the park. This feeds well into the current model of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change, in which practitioners of functional neurology are looking for tools to activate specifically targeted under functioning areas of the brain. With regular stimulation of these areas at the correct intensity and frequency, positive changes can be made to help address various deficiencies whether sensory, motor or in this case social. If you have a child on the Autism Asperger’s Syndrome and this type of treatment sounds interesting to you, look for a physician that practices functional neurology in your area.
There is still considerable debate regarding a connection between autism and vaccines. On one side there are those citing that the original Wakefield study has now been deemed to have been fraudulent. On the other side are parents whose children were perfectly fine, but developed a a fever right after the vaccine and were never the same since. Those of us that are involved with the Autism community and treat these children know that the latter is something that we have heard frequently enough to raise suspicion. As I’ve stated previously, my concept is one of total load on the system. It is the sum total of all the stressors on the child that decompensates the child’s health. This would to explain why if thousands of children are vaccinated every year only a small percentage developed symptoms relating to the autism spectrum. It is the child with a latent virus, immature liver etc., that now receives the vaccine with mercury or aluminum which the child, do to other stressors is not able to handle. In this case, the vaccine becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It can be one huge stress or more than likely a multifactorial cause. At this point there’s going to be a lot of resistance from pediatricians to those parents that want to delay or spread out the vaccination of their children. The purpose of this article is to give those parents a rational way to approach your pediatrician with regard to Autism and vaccines. I will attempt to lay out some risk factors and early indicators of autism that would suggest that a parent might want to procede with caution with regard to vaccinations. The more of these risk factors or indicators that your child has, the more persuasive your argument will be.
Is there someone in your family that has autism?
Was your child premature?
Was your child breech birth?
Was your child jaundice?
Was your child of low birth weight, less than 5.5 pounds?
Is your child a boy?
Were you older parents?
Is there less than two years from birth to birth of your children?
Did you smoke while you were pregnant?
Did your child have a low Apgar score at 5 minutes, less than 7?
Were you exposed to toxins during your pregnancy?
Now let’s look at three early indicators of Autism. Obviously, if your child is showing early signs of Autism you may want to moderate additional risk factors. Is your child not looking, vocalizing and smiling at others? Is your child a picky eater? Does your child have issues with joint attention? Joint attention is how we alert others about an object or event in a nonverbal way utilizing techniques such as gaze and pointing with another person. An example would be when you see something interesting and point at it (initiating joint attention ) in an attempt to get somebody else to become engaged. This type of activity should be present at about nine months of age.
So whether or not you are involved in the vaccine debate or have a loved one that is concerned with regard to the Autism crisis, this article should serve as valuable information and a starting point for discussion.