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Nearly 1 million children in the United States are potentially misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder simply because they are the youngest — and most immature — in their kindergarten class, according to new research by a Michigan State University economist.

These children are significantly more likely than their older classmates to be prescribed behavior-modifying stimulants such as Ritalin, said Todd Elder, whose study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Health Economics.

Such inappropriate treatment is particularly worrisome because of the unknown impacts of long-term stimulant use on children’s health, Elder said. It also wastes an estimated $320 million-$500 million a year on unnecessary medication — some $80 million-$90 million of it paid by Medicaid, he said.

Elder said the “smoking gun” of the study is that ADHD diagnoses depend on a child’s age relative to classmates and the teacher’s perceptions of whether the child has symptoms.

“If a child is behaving poorly, if he’s inattentive, if he can’t sit still, it may simply be because he’s 5 and the other kids are 6,” said Elder, assistant professor of economics. “There’s a big difference between a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old, and teachers and medical practitioners need to take that into account when evaluating whether children have ADHD.”

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder for kids in the United States, with at least 4.5 million diagnoses among children under age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, there are no neurological markers for ADHD (such as a blood test), and experts disagree on its prevalence, fueling intense public debate about whether ADHD is under-diagnosed or over-diagnosed, Elder said.

Using a sample of nearly 12,000 children, Elder examined the difference in ADHD diagnosis and medication rates between the youngest and oldest children in a grade. The data is from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort, which is funded by the National Center for Education Statistics.

According to Elder’s study, the youngest kindergartners were 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest children in the same grade. Similarly, when that group of classmates reached the fifth and eighth grades, the youngest were more than twice as likely to be prescribed stimulants.

Overall, the study found that about 20 percent — or 900,000 — of the 4.5 million children currently identified as having ADHD likely have been misdiagnosed.

Elder used the students’ birth dates and the states’ kindergarten eligibility cutoff dates to determine the youngest and oldest students in a grade. The most popular cutoff date in the nation is Sept. 1, with 15 states mandating that children must turn 5 on or before that date to attend kindergarten.

The results — both from individual states and when compared across states — were definitive. For instance, in Michigan — where the kindergarten cutoff date is Dec. 1 — students born Dec. 1 had much higher rates of ADHD than children born Dec. 2. (The students born Dec. 1 were the youngest in their grade; the students born Dec. 2 enrolled a year later and were the oldest in their grade.)

Thus, even though the students were a single day apart in age, they were assessed differently simply because they were compared against classmates of a different age set, Elder said.

In another example, August-born kindergartners in Illinois were much more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than Michigan kindergartners born in August of the same year as their Illinois counterparts. That’s because Illinois’ kindergarten cutoff date is Sept. 1, meaning those August-born children were the youngest in their grade, whereas the Michigan students were not.

According to the study, a diagnosis of ADHD requires evidence of multiple symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity, with these symptoms persisting for six or more months — and in at least two settings — before the age of seven. The settings include home and school.

Although teachers cannot diagnose ADHD, their opinions are instrumental in decisions to send a child to be evaluated by a mental health professional, Elder said.

“Many ADHD diagnoses may be driven by teachers’ perceptions of poor behavior among the youngest children in a kindergarten classroom,” he said. “But these ‘symptoms’ may merely reflect emotional or intellectual immaturity among the youngest students.”

The paper will be published in the Journal of Health Economicsin conjunction with a related paper by researchers at North Carolina State University, Notre Dame and the University of Minnesota that arrives at similar conclusions as the result of a separate study.

from Science Daily.

If scientists discovered something that worked better than vaccines at preventing influenza, you’d think they would jump all over it, right? After all, isn’t the point to protect children and adults from influenza?

A clinical trial led by Mitsuyoshi Urashima and conducted by the Division of Molecular Epidemiology in the the Department of Pediatrics at the Jikei University School of Medicine Minato-ku in Tokyo found that vitamin D was extremely effective at halting influenza infections in children. The trial appears in the March, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Am J Clin Nutr (March 10, 2010).

The results are from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 334 children, half of which were given 1200 IUs per day of vitamin D3. In other words, this was a “rigorous” scientific study meeting the gold standard of scientific evidence.

In the study, while 31 of 167 children in the placebo group contracted influenza over the four month duration of the study, only 18 of 168 children in the vitamin D group did. This means vitamin D was responsible for an absolute reduction of nearly 8 percent.

Flu vaccines, according to the latest scientific evidence, achieve a 1 percent reduction in influenza symptoms (http://www.naturalnews.com/029641_v…).

This means vitamin D appears to be 800% more effective than vaccines at preventing influenza infections in children.

To further support this, what really needs to be done is a clinical trial directly comparing vitamin D supplements to influenza vaccines with four total groups:

Group #1 receives a vitamin D placebo
Group #2 receives real vitamin D (2,000 IUs per day)
Group #3 receives an influenza vaccine injection
Group #4 receives an inert injection

Groups 1 and 2 should be randomized and double blind while groups 3 and 4 should also be randomized and double blind. The results would reveal the comparative effectiveness of vitamin D versus influenza vaccines.

Unfortunately, such a trial will never be conducted because vaccine pushers already know this trial would show their vaccines to be all but useless. So they won’t subject vaccines to any real science that compares it to vitamin D.

Vitamin D also significantly reduced asthma in children

Getting back to the study, another fascinating result from the trial is that if you remove those children from the study who were already being given vitamin D by their parents, so that you are only looking at children who started out with no vitamin D supplementation before the trial began, the results look even better as vitamin D reduced relative infection risk by nearly two-thirds.

More than six out of ten children who would have normally been infected with influenza, in other words, were protected by vitamin D supplementation.

Also revealed in the study: vitamin D strongly suppressed symptoms of asthma. In children with a previous asthma diagnosis, 12 of those receiving no vitamin D experienced asthma attacks. But in the vitamin D group, only 2 children did.

While this subset sample size is small, it does offer yet more evidence that vitamin D prevents asthma attacks in children, and this entirely consistent with the previous evidence on vitamin D which shows it to be a powerful nutrient for preventing asthma.

Now, given that vitamin D3 shows such a powerful effect in preventing influenza — with 800% increased efficacy over vaccines — shouldn’t CDC officials, doctors and health authorities be rushing to recommend vitamin D before flu season arrives?
Of course they should…Even if vitamin D offered 100% protection against all influenza infections, they still wouldn’t recommend it.

Why? Because they flatly don’t believe in nutrition! It runs counter to their med school programming which says that nutrients are useless and only drugs, vaccines and surgery count as real medicine.

They are promoters of medical dogma rather than real solutions for patients. They promote vaccines because… well… that’s what they’ve always promoted, and that’s what their colleagues promote. And how could so many smart people be wrong, anyway?

But that’s the history of science: A whole bunch of really smart people turn out to be wrong on a regular basis. That’s usually how science advances, by the way: A new idea challenges an old assumption, and after all the defenders of the old (wrong) idea die off, science manages to inch its way forward against the hoots and heckles of a determined dogmatic resistance.

This attitude is blatantly reflected in a quote from Dr John Oxford, a professor of virology at Queen Mary School of Medicine in London, whose reaction to this study was: “This is a timely study. It will be noticed by scientists. It fits in with the seasonal pattern of flu. There is an increasing background of solid science that makes the vitamin D story credible. But this study needs to be replicated. If it is confirmed we might think of giving vitamin D at the same time as we vaccinate.” (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/ne…)

Did you notice his concluding remark? He wasn’t even considering the idea that vitamin D might replace vaccines. Rather, he’s assuming vitamin D only has value if given together with vaccines!

You see this in the cancer industry, too, with anti-cancer herbs and nutrients. Any time an anti-cancer nutrient gains some press (which isn’t very often), the cancer doctor will say things like, “Well, this might be useful to give to a patient after chemotherapy…” but never as a replacement for chemo, you see.

Many mainstream doctors and medical scientists are simply incapable of thinking outside the very limiting boxes into which their brains have been shoved through years of de-education in medical schools. When they see evidence contrary to what they’ve been taught, they foolishly dismiss it.

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.” – Bertrand Russell

Medical journals as guardians of ignorance

Medical journals largely function not as beacons of scientific truth but as defenders of pseudoscientific dogma. To have your paper published in most journals, your paper must meet the expectations and beliefs of that journal’s editor. Thus, the advancement of scientific knowledge reflected in each journal is limited to the current beliefs of just one person — the editor of that journal.

Truly pioneering research that challenges the status quo is almost always rejected. Only papers that confirm the presently-held beliefs of the journal’s editorial staff are accepted for publication. This is one reason why medical science, in particular, advances so slowly.

Studies that show vitamin D to be more effective than vaccines will rarely see the light of day in the scientific community. It is to the great credit of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in fact, that it accepted the publication of this paper by Mitsuyoshi Urashima. Most medical journals wouldn’t dare touch it because it questions status quo beliefs about vaccines and influenza.

Medical journals, you see, are largely funded by the pharmaceutical industry. And Big Pharma doesn’t want to see any studies lending credibility to vitamins, regardless of their scientific merit. Even if vitamin D could save America billions of dollars in reduced health care costs (which it can, actually), they don’t want vitamin D to receive any scientific backing whatsoever because drug companies can’t patent vitamin D. It’s readily available to everyone for mere pennies a day.

In time, it will be recognized as superior to vaccines for seasonal flu, but for now, we must all suffer under the foolish propaganda of an industry that has abandoned science and now worships a needle.

Sources for this story include:
http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abs…

from Natural News. 16 Sept 2010.

This is an excellent article that just came out in the ICPA’s publication Pathways – a must read for parents and anyone who supports them 🙂

S. Rosenberg, ICPA

What we cannot see are the millions of different hormonal changes and chemical reactions occurring both in the mother and the developing baby, all of which are controlled and coordinated through the nervous system. Now more than ever, during pregnancy you need a nervous system that responds immediately and accurately to changing requirements in all parts of your body, and therefore you need a healthy spine!

Chiropractic care prior to conception promotes a more regular menstrual cycle and optimal uterine function. It prepares the body to be strong, supple, and as balanced as possible to carry the pregnancy. Restoring proper nerve supply to reproductive organs has helped many couples who thought they were infertile. And adjusting women throughout pregnancy is one of the most rewarding parts of our work, because a healthier pregnancy means an easier labour and delivery, and a better transition for the baby into this life.

A person’s spine is made of 24 moveable bones called vertebrae, plus the sacrum (tailbone), pelvis, and skull. From the brain, nerve impulses travel down the spinal cord, branch out into nerves, and exit between the vertebrae. When the vertebrae become misaligned or unable to move properly a condition called vertebral subluxation, it irritates and interferes with the nerves. The message from the brain is slowed down and the life-energy carried by the nerve is unable to reach the organs and tissues at full potential. A doctor of chiropractic aligns the vertebrae and pelvis through gentle adjustments to the spine, relieving the pressure on the nerves and allowing the full nerve energy to reach the tissues it serves.

As you gain weight, especially in the abdomen, this exerts a downward, forward pull on the lower spine. This extra weight combined with changes in your gait and centre of gravity can set the stage for backache and neck pain. Additionally, as labour approaches, your body secretes a hormone called relaxin, which loosens ligaments. This may exaggerate the effects of an existing spinal or pelvis problem. The positioning of the baby and its movement as well as expansion of the lower part of the ribcage to accommodate your growing baby can also cause discomfort in the ribs and upper portion of the lower back. Additionally, your increasing breast size in preparation for lactation can create upper back subluxations.

According to recent studies, chiropractic care may result in easier pregnancy including increased comfort during the third trimester and delivery and reduced need for analgesics (pain medication). In one study, women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labour times and subjects giving birth for the second or third time reported 39% reduction in shorter labour times. In another study, the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients who received adjustments. In addition, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care. When women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis function better. As a result, there is significantly less likelihood of back labour (contractions and sharp pain felt in the lower back during labour). Chiropractic care has helped new mothers become more comfortable breastfeeding (posture-wise) as well as to produce more milk. Chiropractic care has also been shown to reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression.

As your pregnancy advances, some chiropractic techniques will need to be modified for your comfort. Your chiropractor is aware of this and will make the necessary changes. In particular, special pregnancy pillows and tables with dropaway pelvic pieces are used to accommodate your growing belly. A chiropractor trained in the techniques that address uterine constraint or mal-presentations will check for misalignment of the pelvic bones, misalignment of the sacrum and vertebrae, and spasm of the ligaments that support the uterus and help hold the pelvis together.

Body position during delivery is also critical. Any late second stage labour position that denies postural sacral rotation denies the mother and the baby critical pelvic outlet diameter and moves the tip of the sacrum up to four centimetres into the pelvic outlet. In other words, the popular semi-recumbent position that places the labouring woman on her back onto the apex of the sacrum closes off the vital space needed for the baby to get through the pelvic outlet. This delivery position is the main reason why so many births are traumatic, labour is stalled, the mom becomes fatigued and overwhelmed by pain, so the utilization of epidurals, forceps, episiotomies, vacuum extraction, and caesarean increases. This is why squatting is the preferred position—gravity works to help and the pelvic outlet can open to a greater degree. Squatting during delivery results in decreased use of forceps and a shorter second stage of labour than the semi-recumbent position! Moreover, research has shown that coached pushing in the second stage of labour does not improve the short-term outcome for mothers or babies, except when the baby needs to be keep “baby blues” at bay, regain their energy and lose the weight they gained during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Exercise Tips

Don’t exercise for longer than 30 minutes at a time.

Always include a 10-minute warm-up and a 10-minute cool-down period (in addition to the 30 minutes of exercise).

Pregnant women should not exercise to exhaustion—but being fatigued is okay.

Avoid forced, passive stretches, such as reaching for your toes. Pregnancy hormones make your joints looser, so overstretching—which can cause a muscle injury—is a greater risk during pregnancy. Also, avoid sudden jerking or bouncing movements or quick changes in position.

Limit aerobic activity to the low-impact variety, especially if you weren’t exercising regularly before getting pregnant. Brisk walking, swimming, and riding a stationary bicycle are good choices. Keep it moderate (30 minutes per day), particularly if you weren’t exercising before pregnancy. Ensure weight training is done under proper guidance.

Measure your heart rate at peak activity to be sure you are not exceeding 140 beats per minute.

Avoid overheating: drink plenty of water, and don’t exercise in hot, humid conditions.

Avoid activities that put you at high risk for injury, such as horseback riding or downhill skiing.

Avoid sports in which you could get hit in the abdomen (e.g. softball).

Especially after the third month, avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back for an extended period of time since this can reduce your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, cause dizziness, and may reduce blood flow to baby.

Never scuba dive because it can cause dangerous gas bubbles in the baby’s circulatory system.

Before starting any new exercise routine, always check with your health care provider.

Stop exercising immediately and consult your midwife or doctor if any of the following symptoms occur during or after exercise: bleeding, cramping, faintness and/or dizziness, elevated blood pressure, or severe joint pain.

Here’s an easy pelvic tilt exercise to get you started. It will strengthen stomach and back muscles and reduce stress from the growth of your uterus. You may want to make sure you haven’t eaten for an hour or so before doing this exercise for comfort.

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent (this can also be done standing if you are uncomfortable on your back).
  2. If needed, place a small pillow under your neck and/or lower back for support. Make sure you maintain a small curve in your neck to reduce the likelihood of strain.
  3. Pull in abdominal and buttock muscles (this should flatten the lower back). Imagine you are peeling your buttocks and spine up off the floor. Slowly, vertebra-by-vertebra, rise to approximately bra-strap level (as long as there is no pain or tension felt in your neck).
  4. Hold, breathe out, and count to five.
  5. Relax. Inhale. Roll down slowly, and with control, vertebraby- vertebra.
  6. Repeat five times.

Additional Hints to Help Prevent Pregnancy Backache

Stand erect; do not allow your belly to sag.

Change positions often to ease lower back strain.

When lifting, bend your knees and keep your back straight.

Consult your chiropractor for exercises to reduce lower back strain (an easy one to start with is the pelvic tilt shown above).

Your mattress should be supportive and comfortable.

Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees.

Adequate rest is essential.

Keep daily chores manageable. Seek those who can most help you make this experience meaningful. Whether it’s a friend to walk with to the pool, a doula to help with your labour plan, or your mother offering to watch the kids or help clean the kitchen, take advantage of the help around you.

Know your limits. If you are working throughout your pregnancy and/or have other children to care for, try not to overdo it.

Practice good postural habits.

Plan and do regular exercise.

Kegel exercises are a great way to prepare and tone the pelvic floor muscles for delivery and can be done anytime. To do Kegels, contract the muscles around your urethra and vagina— imagine you are trying to prevent yourself from urinating. Hold for several seconds, then release. Repeat sets of ten, several times each day.

Have regular spinal check-ups; they are an important part of preventative health care.


Other Factors to Consider in Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy

Proper nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. This includes adequate intake of folic acid, good sources of protein and iron, calcium-rich foods, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of pure water to keep well hydrated. Avoid eating too much sugar and sweets including fruit drinks as they can cause you (and the baby) to gain excessive weight.

Research has found that a pregnant woman can help protect the health of her child by avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke alcohol, excessive caffeine (e.g. tea, coffee and cola), unnecessary exposure to x-rays (especially in the first trimester), unnecessary medication (including over-the-counter remedies), and foods with chemical additives, artificial sweeteners, and artificial ingredients.

Regular exercise, good nutrition, and periodic spinal adjustments can make pregnancy the pleasant, exciting experience you want it to be! Pregnancy should be an opportunity to reflect on your family’s plans and dreams— not a time to struggle with pain. Preparing for a new baby is a daunting challenge for even the most organized mothers-to-be. So, during this meaningful time, be proactive: work to prevent backache before it affects your peace of mind or distracts you from focusing on your family’s well being. Chiropractic care is safe and natural, simply removing interference to your body’s own controlling and healing ability.

Pathways Issue 20 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #20.

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