Monday, June 20, 2016

Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

"French children don't need medications to control their behavior", by Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., posted on Psychology Today. Dr. Wedge makes a good point with France's broader look at ADHD including social influences. I tend to think most ADHD children as being helped some or very much by the nutritional approach - limiting high glycemic foods and ensuring the child get's proper nutrients in the right amounts through supplementation included optimizers such as Omega 3 essential fatty acids, but certainly a total approach is usually the best to include a stabilized social order.

In the United States, at least 9 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5 percent. How has the epidemic of ADHD—firmly established in the U.S.—almost completely passed over children in France?

Is ADHD a biological-neurological disorder? Surprisingly, the answer to this question depends on whether you live in France or in the U.S. In the United States, child psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. The preferred treatment is also biological—psycho stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.

French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children's focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress—not in the child's brain but in the child's social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child's brain.

French child psychiatrists don't use the same system of classification of childhood emotional problems as American psychiatrists. They do not use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. According to Sociologist Manuel Vallee, the French Federation of Psychiatry developed an alternative classification system as a resistance to the influence of the DSM-3. This alternative was the CFTMEA (Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L'Enfant et de L'Adolescent), first released in 1983, and updated in 1988 and 2000. The focus of CFTMEA is on identifying and addressing the underlying psychosocial causes of children's symptoms, not on finding the best pharmacological bandaids with which to mask symptoms.

To the extent that French clinicians are successful at finding and repairing what has gone awry in the child's social context, fewer children qualify for the ADHD diagnosis. Moreover, the definition of ADHD is not as broad as in the American system, which, in my view, tends to "pathologize" much of what is normal childhood behavior. The DSM specifically does not consider underlying causes. It thus leads clinicians to give the ADHD diagnosis to a much larger number of symptomatic children, while also encouraging them to treat those children with pharmaceuticals.

The French holistic, psychosocial approach also allows for considering nutritional causes for ADHD-type symptoms—specifically the fact that the behavior of some children is worsened after eating foods with artificial colors, certain preservatives, and/or allergens. Clinicians who work with troubled children in this country—not to mention parents of many ADHD kids—are well aware that dietary interventions can sometimes help a child's problem. In the U.S., the strict focus on pharmaceutical treatment of ADHD, however, encourages clinicians to ignore the influence of dietary factors on children's behavior.

And then, of course, there are the vastly different philosophies of child-rearing in the U.S. and France. These divergent philosophies could account for why French children are generally better-behaved than their American counterparts. Pamela Druckerman highlights the divergent parenting styles in her recent book, Bringing up Bébé. I believe her insights are relevant to a discussion of why French children are not diagnosed with ADHD in anything like the numbers we are seeing in the U.S.

From the time their children are born, French parents provide them with a firm cadre—the word means "frame" or "structure." Children are not allowed, for example, to snack whenever they want. Mealtimes are at four specific times of the day. French children learn to wait patiently for meals, rather than eating snack foods whenever they feel like it. French babies, too, are expected to conform to limits set by parents and not by their crying selves. French parents let their babies "cry it out" (for no more than a few minutes of course) if they are not sleeping through the night at the age of four months.

French parents, Druckerman observes, love their children just as much as American parents. They give them piano lessons, take them to sports practice, and encourage them to make the most of their talents. But French parents have a different philosophy of discipline. Consistently enforced limits, in the French view, make children feel safe and secure. Clear limits, they believe, actually make a child feel happier and safer—something that is congruent with my own experience as both a therapist and a parent. Finally, French parents believe that hearing the word "no" rescues children from the "tyranny of their own desires." And spanking, when used judiciously, is not considered child abuse in France. (Dr Wedge's note: I am not personally in favor of spanking children).

As a therapist who works with children, it makes perfect sense to me that French children don't need medications to control their behavior because they learn self-control early in their lives. The children grow up in families in which the rules are well-understood, and a clear family hierarchy is firmly in place. In French families, as Druckerman describes them, parents are firmly in charge of their kids—instead of the American family style, in which the situation is all too often vice versa.

Read more about why French kids don't have ADHD and American kids do in Marilyn Wedge's new book based on this article: A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vitamins and Minerals From A to Z

This is an article from Web MD which is a good source of information but with all information you read has to be viewed through a critical eye. The problem I have with this particular Web MD article is that it list 12 Vitamins and Minerals as if this is a total list. Where are the essential Vitamins B1, B2, Niacin and B6? Biotin? Pantothenic Acid? No where to be found on this list. Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, ...and the list goes on of missing key nutrients. 

 I also think articles like this enable people to pick and choose what they take as opposed to taking a complete list of nutrients in advanced doses to work synergistically with your immune system to provide optimum health. But hey, that's just me. If what you are doing seems to work, then like my friend say's "drive on with your bad self." And I mean that with all the love in the world.

Vitamin A

There are two main types of it. One comes from animal sources of food. You need it to help you see at night, make red blood cells, and fight off infections. The other is in plant foods and can help prevent an eye problem called age-related macular degeneration and to cells all over your body. Eat orange veggies and fruits (like sweet potato and cantaloupe), spinach and other greens, dairy products, and seafood such as shrimp and salmon. Too much vitamin A can hurt your liver, though.

Vitamin B12

Rev up before hitting the gym with a snack like a hard-boiled egg or cereal with vitamins added. B12 helps your body break down food for energy. Some athletes and trainers take supplements before workouts, but these don’t really boost your success if you're getting enough in your meals.

Vitamin C

Despite claims made by some over-the-counter remedies, it doesn’t prevent colds. But once you have symptoms, drink orange or grapefruit juice to help yourself stay hydrated and feel better sooner. Your body must have vitamin C to help your bones, skin, and muscles grow. You'll get enough from bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, cantaloupe, leafy greens, and other fruits and veggies.


This mineral, when mixed with sand, helps harden concrete harden. Its strength makes it the building block for your bones and teeth. It's also key to make muscles, including your heart, move. Get calcium from milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy foods, and from green vegetables like kale and broccoli. How much you need depends on your age and sex. Check with your doctor about whether you should take a supplement.

Vitamin D

Like calcium, it keeps your bones strong and helps your nerves carry messages. It also plays a role in fighting germs. Careful time in the sun -- 10 to 15 minutes on a clear day, without sunscreen -- is the best source. Or you could eat fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. There's a little in egg yolks, too. You can also get milk and sometimes orange juice with added vitamin D.

Vitamin E

It's also called an antioxidant. They protect your cells from damage caused by cigarette smoke, pollution, sunlight, and more. Vitamin E also helps your cells talk to each other and keeps blood moving. Sunflower seeds and nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are good sources. If you're allergic to those, vegetable oils (like safflower and sunflower), spinach, and broccoli have vitamin E, too.

Folic Acid

For moms-to-be, it's a must. It helps make DNA and prevent spina bifida and other brain birth defects. Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens, oranges and orange juice, and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) are rich in folic acid. Your doctor may want you to take a supplement, too.

Vitamin K

You need it for blood clotting and healthy bones. People who take warfarin, a blood-thinner, have to be careful about what they eat, because vitamin K reacts badly with the drug. A serving of leafy greens -- like spinach, kale, or broccoli -- will give you more than enough K for the day. A Japanese dish called natto, made from fermented soybeans, has even more.


When your levels are low, your body doesn’t make enough healthy red blood cells. And without them, you can’t get oxygen to your tissues. Women who are pregnant or have heavy menstrual cycles are most likely to have anemia, the medical name for when you don’t have enough iron in your blood. Keep up your levels with beans and lentils, liver, oysters, and spinach. Many breakfast cereals have a day’s worth added in. Even dark chocolate with at least 45% cacao has some!


This mineral plays a role in making your muscles squeeze and keeping your heart beating. It helps control blood sugar and blood pressure, make proteins and DNA, and turn food into energy. You'll get magnesium from almonds, cashews, spinach, soybeans, avocado, and whole grains.


You may think of bananas, but green leafy veggies are a better source of this mineral. It helps keep your blood pressure in a normal range, and it helps your kidneys work. Levels that are too low or too high could make your heart and nervous system shut down. You should also watch your salt, because your body needs the right balance of sodium and potassium. Snack on raw cantaloupe, carrots, and tomatoes, too.


Without it, you couldn't taste and smell. Your immune system needs it, and it helps cuts, scrapes, and sores heal. It may help you keep your sight as you get older. While you can get zinc from plant sources like sesame and pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, and cashews, it's easier for your body to absorb it from animal foods, such as oysters, beef, crab, lobster, and pork.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

14 Warning Signs You Might Have Liver Damage

I have had two close friends pass away, in their early 50's, from liver cancer, so anything dealing with liver and pancreatic health always spark my interest.

This article is from Life' The liver is one of the largest and hardest working organs in the body. It converts the nutrients in the food we eat into substances the body can use and stores them, and releases them when the cells require. It also detoxifies the blood, and plays a role in producing proteins even enabling blood to clot after an injury.

The liver does a whole lot, so it’s important to keep this workhorse of an organ healthy and working properly. However, there are things we do that can damage our livers. Read these 14 early warning signs of liver damage. If caught early enough, a plan of action can be implemented to prevent further damage.

1. Jaundice.  A failing liver cannot process enough of the pigment, bilirubin, the waste product after old red blood cells break down. The result is jaundice, the yellowing of the skin, nails and eyes. The unprocessed bilirubin, or a clogged bile duct due to liver disease, causes the bilirubin to accumulate in the bloodstream. It winds up in the skin and eyes, causing the yellow discoloration. If you see yellow, call your doctor.

MyAchingKnees comment: I would never discount concern for a jaundiced appearance however when someone detoxs from high glycemic and processed foods, often a yellow tinged skin tone will be present for a day or two.

2. Itching.  Itching could be a symptom of cirrhosis, the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the liver. Cirrhosis can develop unnoticed until there is liver failure. Or there can be symptoms. Itching, also called pruritis, is one symptom. The itch can be debilitating with the entire skin suffering intensely for no apparent reason. Scratching might just exacerbate the itch which is caused by accumulation of bile acids in the bloodstream. If you experience an itch that covers your body or a localized itch that lasts for days, call your doctor.

MyAchingKnees comment: Itching could also be a result of anxiety or even falling into a patch of poisonous ivy. .....or even going to Church for some people. 
3. Bruising Easily Bruising, or bleeding easily, especially nosebleeds, is another symptom of cirrhosis — a liver that has scar tissue that affects the way the liver works. What’s happening is the damaged liver cannot produce enough of the proteins needed to clot the blood after an injury. Bruising easily and bleeding come as a result.

4. Hormone Imbalance.  Men, if you start to develop breasts, this might not be a cause for embarrassment but instead a cause for alarm. A liver that is damaged might not be able to regulate the production and breakdown of hormones. For women, this may affect your menstrual cycle. For men, shrunken testicles and enlarged breasts should alert you to possible liver damage. Call your doctor.

MyAchingKnees comment: Men, if you get man boobs, then now is time to eat right and do pushups,...many, many pushups!
5. Spider Angiomas.  Another symptom of cirrhosis are swollen blood vessels. Called spider angiomas, these affected blood vessels get their name from their spiderweb-like appearance just below the skin. When the liver fails to adequately metabolize hormones, the level of estrogen can increase causing capillaries to take on this unsightly form in 33% of cirrhosis sufferers.

6. Encephalopathy.  The liver is constantly detoxifying the blood. But if the liver is not working properly, toxins remain in the bloodstream coursing all through the body. When these toxins reach the brain, they could cause hepatic encephalopathy—deterioration in brain function. This could result in confusion, loss of short-term memory and even loss of consciousness.

7. Portal Hypertension. When the liver is scarred, blood is prevented from flowing through the organ easily. This causes pressure to build up in the vein that supplies the liver with blood, the portal vein. Portal hypertension leads the blood to circumvent this vein like a car circumventing a blocked road by taking a smaller side street. The blood chooses fragile veins in the esophagus and stomach which can ultimately lead to their rupture. This shows up as internal bleeding, vomiting blood, or blood-soaked, black stools. Call your doctor immediately.

8. Chronic Fatigue.  Fatigue is the most prevalent symptom in patients with liver disease, probably noticeable because of its impact on quality of life. Fatigue is the product of a damaged liver that cannot keep up with its awesome workload. Tasked with detoxifying the bloodstream (among other jobs), a diseased or damaged liver will leave large amounts of toxins in the blood stream. Headaches are a symptom of this. Fatigue is another.

9. Loss Of Appetite.  Loss of appetite is most likely due to cytokines, proteins produced by cells that serve as messengers between cells. Cytokines interact with cells of the immune system to regulate and mediate normal cell processes in the body, and in the case of liver disease, they cause a lack of appetite. This is usually a symptom of advanced liver disease.

10. Swollen Legs And Ankles.  If you notice that your legs or ankles begin to swell, and you’re not overweight, and there does not seem to be another cause, it could be due to a build-up of fluid in the body. The excess fluid is pulled by gravity so it sinks to your lower hemisphere, settling in the legs or ankles. There are several causes for this, and none are particularly inspiring. Liver damage is one. If you experience this “edema,” you should speak with your doctor to determine the cause.

11. Dark Urine.  If your urine is orange, brown, cola color or amber (like the beer above) it could be a liver warning sign. There are other causes of dark urine, for instance dehydration, medication, urinary tract infections, kidney problems or eating certain vegetables that color the urine. If you can rule these out, a problem with your liver or bile ducts could be the culprit, and you should speak with your doctor.

12. Nausea.  There are many causes of nausea, ranging from the obvious like overeating or drinking too much alcohol to the not-so-obvious including organ trouble, fear or early stages of pregnancy. Nausea, itself, is not cause for alarm unless it persists or is coupled with other symptoms. If you experience nausea with other symptoms, you should consult with your doctor.

MyAchingKnees comment: Another cause of nausea is eating my Aunt Gilda's Chicken Casserole.   
13. Stool Problems.  Another sign of liver damage is the color of what you left behind in the toilet bowl. Although poop can change colors with a varied diet, normally it should be a shade of brown. If successive bowel movements are not in this hue, it’s a signal that something could be wrong. Black, tarry stools are the result of internal bleeding which can be a symptom of liver disease or some other serious problem. Call your doctor.

14. Pain In The Right Upper Abdomen.  Pain in the upper abdomen could be the result of inflammation of the liver. In the early stages of the disease, the liver may swell and become tender. The inflammation could be the result of an accumulation of fat, or from your body fighting an infection. If the inflammation is left untreated, your liver can suffer permanent damage. If you feel pain in the right upper abdomen, call your doctor. Catch and treat the disease early enough and the inflammation may subside.

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