Exercise as a Solution for ADHD
With the diagnosis of ADHD in children on the rise, there is a push for researching a treatment and possible solution as well. There have been numerous studies done on a correlation between increased physical activity and a higher degree of paying attention in those children with ADHD. So, is exercise the treatment that we are looking for?
In a study in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, children in an elementary school classroom setting were randomly assigned to either a physical activity (PA) group or a sedentary classroom (SC) group for 31 minute periods per day for 12 weeks. Parents and teachers were asked to rate ADHD symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity/ impulsivity, oppositional behavior and moodiness before and after the study was completed. The first analyses of this study found that the PA group was more effective at reducing inattention and moodiness at home. Follow up analyses found that the PA intervention reduced impairment associated with ADHD both at home and at school. An unexpected finding that the SC intervention was potentially useful for managing these ADHD symptoms was also found in this experiment. This study was done with a liberal analysis and without a control group, so that is important to note as well.
A Different Way to Exercise
Does the gym seem too far away? Do you feel like you don’t have time to exercise? There may be some good news for couch potatoes like ourselves. Studies are showing that watching a sport causes some of the same physiological effects as actually working out . While watching others exercise, heart rate, respiration, skin blood flow, and sweat release all increase as if you were exercising.
Researchers at the University of Western Sydney inserted fine needles into an outer nerve of volunteers who were shown a static image followed by a video of a jogger for 22 minutes. With these needles, the scientists were able to record electrical signals within nerve fibers that innervate blood vessels. These recordings provided measures of the body’s physiological stress response, particularly muscle sympathetic nerve activity.
The study showed that sympathetic nerve activity increased when volunteers watched the jogger. In comparison, observing the static image caused change in activity. The sympathetic nervous system innervates the heart, sweat glands, and blood vessels, and its activity increases during exercise. This study indicates that its activity also increases while watching another person exercise, indicating that there may be some benefit.
Forced Exercise: A Mental Workout?
We all know that we should hit the gym so we can look good, marry a rich dude, and not need to do science anymore. But can dragging yourself to the gym improve your cognitive assets as well?
Recent studies show that even in normal, healthy brains, that forced exercise has effects. Rats who ran voluntarily on a wheel placed on a cage were compared with those who forced to run on a treadmill. Even though the rats who ran voluntarily ran faster, those who were forced to run on a treadmill showed more proliferation in the dentate gyrus and performed better on cognitive tests. More
A Peek at Parkinson’s: What’s New for the Old?
With the Pancakes for Parkinson’s event at Boston University nearing, on April 2nd, I thought it would be a good time to check up on the latest in Parkinson’s research.
Firstly, Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a motor disorder that affects dopaminergic neurons of the brain, which are necessary in the coordination of movement. Onset is usually around age 60, starting with symptoms including tremor, stiffness, slowness of movement, and poor balance and coordination. While current treatments can help alleviate the symptoms in patients, none provide a cure.
Second off, the mission of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and other support groups is to find better treatments for those suffering from the disease. With the Baby Boomer generation entering late adulthood and old age, more research needs to be done to better understand the disease and help those with it find relief. Consider stopping by the GSU Alley for some pancakes to show your support for the Foundation and its cause next month!
Ranging from studying food intake to using technology, many approaches have been used in PD research. More