T Nation

Pesticides Linked to Childhood ADHD


#1

Thought this was interesting: http://www.aolnews.com/health/article/study-links-common-pesticides-such-as-malathion-to-childhood-adhd/19479933

(May 17) -- Kids exposed to above-average levels of pesticides, particularly those found on widely consumed varieties of fruits and vegetables, appear more likely to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a new study.

Berries, whether fresh or frozen, along with celery and peaches are only a few of the fruits and vegetables containing significant levels of pesticides. Now a study published in this week's issue of Pediatrics indicates that residue from these chemical compounds can be found in the urine of most Americans and seem to be affecting the neural development of children.

The study builds on previous research that reached similar conclusions, but it's the most comprehensive analysis thus far of the suspected link between pesticides and ADHD, which afflicts an estimated 4.5 million American children. Rates of ADHD have increased consistently since the 1990s.

A team of researchers at the University of Montreal and Harvard evaluated 1,139 children, ages 8 to 15, for six key compounds that comprise 70 percent of all food-based pesticides. Of the study participants, 119 met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, a condition characterized by academic struggles, impatience and difficulty focusing.

They found widespread connections between each pesticide and ADHD susceptibility. And ADHD rates actually doubled among kids with higher-than-average levels of a common compound called malathion.

Because the study group consisted of kids from average American cities and towns, rather than farms or heavy agricultural regions, it suggests a troubling link between relatively normal pesticide exposures and health problems.

Most childhood exposure to pesticides comes from diet, and a startling percentage of produce contains potentially harmful pesticides. A 2008 federal report concluded that 28 percent of frozen blueberries and 19 percent of celery contained "detectable concentrations" of malathion.

Pesticide manufacturers want scientists to do more research before making any conclusions.

"All crop protection products are extensively reviewed by regulatory agencies before approval for market use ... The class of crop protection compounds that is the subject of this study has been approved and registered by the U.S. EPA and when used according to the label, the EPA has determined it to be safe," CropLife America, an association that represents pesticide companies, said in a statement.

A link between pesticides and ADHD would make sense. The agents short-circuit the neural pathways of insects by interfering with a group of brain chemicals. ADHD in humans has been attributed to problems with those same brain compounds.

But the study does have its limitations. In particular, the diets of participants weren't tracked, so the researchers can't definitively link consumption patterns with illness. And the conclusions were drawn from one urine sample, rather than several.

"This study only provides a snapshot of one point in time of the association between pesticides and ADHD," Philip Landrigan, chairman of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, told ABC News. "The next step is we need to do a prospective study, a study that measures pesticide exposure very early in life ... then follow the children over five, six, seven years and see if the early exposure actually causes the disease."

For parents concerned about pesticide exposure, the research team suggests opting for organics whenever possible. Several studies have shown that organic produce contains lower levels of pesticides.

Thoroughly washing produce, and peeling it whenever possible, can also reduce exposure.


#2

That’s really interesting. I wonder how that plays into the genetic aspect of adhd? Would it make it worse in someone who already inherited the condition? Contribute to it in a person without the genetics for it? Can a person be “detox’d” of pesticides? If yes, would ahdh symptoms be reduced? Is the pesticide exposure causing symptoms that mimic adhd?

Food for thought. Organic food.


#3

Now if only AHDH existed, they would be on o something here.


#4

Seriously?


#5

Good questions Jillybop. It would be interesting to know if the agricultural chemicals could be detoxed from our bodies. I’m also wondering what “thoroughly washing produce” consists of…bleach


#6

[quote]iflyboats wrote:
Now if only AHDH existed, they would be on o something here.[/quote]

Never been around someone who can’t focus worth a crap huh


#7

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:

[quote]iflyboats wrote:
Now if only AHDH existed, they would be on o something here.[/quote]

Never been around someone who can’t focus worth a crap huh[/quote]

While it’s most likely extremely over-diagnosed, until you’ve met people who legitimately need that sort of medication you can’t really comment on whether or not it is real.

I’ve known a few people with ADD/ADHD and it really is night vs. day when it comes to their personality and ability to effectively function with/without medication.


#8

[quote]anonym wrote:

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:

[quote]iflyboats wrote:
Now if only AHDH existed, they would be on o something here.[/quote]

Never been around someone who can’t focus worth a crap huh[/quote]

While it’s most likely extremely over-diagnosed, until you’ve met people who legitimately need that sort of medication you can’t really comment on whether or not it is real.

I’ve known a few people with ADD/ADHD and it really is night vs. day when it comes to their personality and ability to effectively function with/without medication.[/quote]

Functioning effectively is a matter of context with the set of traits called ADD. I’m supposed to have it and I have always had difficulties in classrooms, but in the great out doors, or on an athletic field there is no one better adapted than someone with ADD…in my opinion.


#9

I think adhd can vary from mild to very severe. Eli, that’s excellent, but I’m guessing that someone with severe adhd would not be able to be very successful at sports. Also, sometimes people with adhd really hyperfocus on one thing which if it were sports could be really impressive. It does often go along with fine and gross motor issues, too, which makes athletics more difficult.

There was an interesting study where kids with and without adhd were given some tests in a specific room. Afterwards the kids with adhd could tell researchers what posters and things were on the walls in the room while the other kids couldn’t (that wasn’t what they were supposedly being tested about). That seems to go along with the theory that people with adhd are throwbacks to the days of hunters and gatherers and are well-suited to thriving in that environment. Many discredit that, though.

My son is very bright, but has adhd which makes it hard for him to stay in his seat and not blurt out whatever is in his head. He was starting to feel really badly about himself and his behavior - he wanted to behave, but was unable to. It makes me sad to think about the internal struggle that must cause, especially for a kid too young to understand or verbalize it.

They’ve been able to discover that adhd is often a result of underactivity in the frontal lobe. New tests called qEEG’s (quantitative EEG) are able to actually show this and are starting to be used to make a ‘brain map’ which can basically diagnose adhd. I think this is going to be a big deal soon.

I’ve been researching a lot about all this stuff (which is why I haven’t been around much)


#10

[quote]Jillybop wrote:
I think adhd can vary from mild to very severe. Eli, that’s excellent, but I’m guessing that someone with severe adhd would not be able to be very successful at sports. Also, sometimes people with adhd really hyperfocus on one thing which if it were sports could be really impressive. It does often go along with fine and gross motor issues, too, which makes athletics more difficult.

There was an interesting study where kids with and without adhd were given some tests in a specific room. Afterwards the kids with adhd could tell researchers what posters and things were on the walls in the room while the other kids couldn’t (that wasn’t what they were supposedly being tested about). That seems to go along with the theory that people with adhd are throwbacks to the days of hunters and gatherers and are well-suited to thriving in that environment. Many discredit that, though.

My son is very bright, but has adhd which makes it hard for him to stay in his seat and not blurt out whatever is in his head. He was starting to feel really badly about himself and his behavior - he wanted to behave, but was unable to. It makes me sad to think about the internal struggle that must cause, especially for a kid too young to understand or verbalize it.

They’ve been able to discover that adhd is often a result of underactivity in the frontal lobe. New tests called qEEG’s (quantitative EEG) are able to actually show this and are starting to be used to make a ‘brain map’ which can basically diagnose adhd. I think this is going to be a big deal soon.

I’ve been researching a lot about all this stuff (which is why I haven’t been around much)[/quote]

Then again I could very well be one of the many misdiagnosed as I often suspect.


#11

Two Takes on ADD (by Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., published Thursday, 06 May 2010 00:00)

There are two ways to describe the same phenomenon or experience.

One: “I tend to start one task before completing another. This annoys those around me as well as myself. Sometimes, there’s a rationale for what I’m doing. I could handle this by explaining to others that I have my reasons for doing it this way, and please be patient. I could handle the times where it doesn’t make sense by increasing my awareness of how self-defeating I’m being, and attempt to gradually change it.”

Two: “I have attention deficit disorder (ADD). It’s a disease. I bear no responsibility for it, and have no way of changing it. I can take medication for it, which might or might not work. It’s not my fault if it doesn’t.”

Which attitude is the more accurate and reasonable one? Which set of beliefs serves the interest of the person with the problem better?

Which is easier – the “easier way out” of excuses…or an attitude that leads to needed changes?


#12

Two Takes on ADD (by Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., published Thursday, 06 May 2010 00:00)

There are two ways to describe the same phenomenon or experience.

One: “I tend to start one task before completing another. This annoys those around me as well as myself. Sometimes, there’s a rationale for what I’m doing. I could handle this by explaining to others that I have my reasons for doing it this way, and please be patient. I could handle the times where it doesn’t make sense by increasing my awareness of how self-defeating I’m being, and attempt to gradually change it.”

Two: “I have attention deficit disorder (ADD). It’s a disease. I bear no responsibility for it, and have no way of changing it. I can take medication for it, which might or might not work. It’s not my fault if it doesn’t.”

Which attitude is the more accurate and reasonable one? Which set of beliefs serves the interest of the person with the problem better?

Which is easier – the “easier way out” of excuses…or an attitude that leads to needed changes?


#13

Two Takes on ADD (by Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., published Thursday, 06 May 2010 00:00)

There are two ways to describe the same phenomenon or experience.

One: “I tend to start one task before completing another. This annoys those around me as well as myself. Sometimes, there’s a rationale for what I’m doing. I could handle this by explaining to others that I have my reasons for doing it this way, and please be patient. I could handle the times where it doesn’t make sense by increasing my awareness of how self-defeating I’m being, and attempt to gradually change it.”

Two: “I have attention deficit disorder (ADD). It’s a disease. I bear no responsibility for it, and have no way of changing it. I can take medication for it, which might or might not work. It’s not my fault if it doesn’t.”

Which attitude is the more accurate and reasonable one? Which set of beliefs serves the interest of the person with the problem better?

Which is easier – the “easier way out” of excuses…or an attitude that leads to needed changes?


#14

IMO, ADD/ADHD is one of the most over-diagnosed conditions. But as stated by others in this thread, when you meet somebody with significant symptoms, it is quite a dramatic change from when they are showing their symptoms of ADD/ADHD and when they aren’t.

I think part of the reason that ADD/ADHD has such a bad name is due to people using it as a cop-out and also because of the rampant abuse of the medication prescribed for the disorder. Working in the collegiate setting, I see it being abused very often and can only imagine it being just as bad in high schools.

Also, without going too far off topic and starting up something, I just find it very interesting that there is a general acceptance in society for usage of Adderall and other ADD/ADHD medication, but a disgust and rejection for the usage of steroids. What is particularly funny is that in the US Adderall is listed as a Schedule 2 drug, while anabolic steroids are listed as a Schedule 3 drug. Something that most people I have discussed this with were unaware of.


#15

I agree that there does seem to be a lot of misdiagnosis, but it is a very real disorder (for those who truly have it). We try to emphasize with our son that it’s not an excuse for his behavior, but sometimes it is the reason for his behavior and he has to work hard to overcome it. When he takes his medication there is a big difference which makes life less of a struggle for him.

Russell Barkley has written a lot of really good info about it if anyone wants to learn more.

Here is a good article: http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/health/dr-russell-barkley-ad-hd-theory-diagnosis-and-treatment-summary.gs?content=677

He has a 40 page pdf document from a seminar he gave that I found very helpful: http://www.greatschools.org/pdfs/2200_7-barktran.pdf?date=4-12-05


#16

It exists and I have it.My daughter has it. She is doing great in school after taking medicine a few years ago. I myself watch things like booze and caffeine. This will help my symptoms.

My daughter is now app 15-20 in a class of app 300 kids. I’m a practicing chiropractor. I have a BS degree in biology from PSU. The psychologist who diagnosed me and tested me said since I’m above average in intelligence, I have learned better coping skills.

It’s not a cop out. you take some welfare kids from a nitwhit family with no set of standards and rules, no we do it this way, turn off that tv and PS3 and you’re going to have a kid with symptoms. People feed their kids crap, they don’t get enough exercise and they allow them activities with instant gratification, instead of hobbies that require a little time and focus, like reading.

You want to read about it, read anything by Dr. Daniel Amen.


#17

Some people “de-tox” better than others, depending on their genetic ability to produce glutathione. If you don’t have access to fresh, organic produce, then you can boost your glutathione production by drinking raw milk from grass-fed cows or replace your protein powder with bioactive, non-denatured whey protein.

And Jilly, you probably already know this, supplementing your son’s diet with the amino acid tyrosine can help raise dopamine levels in his brain. Also Omega-3’s and Phosphatidylserine(PS) and Phosphatidylcholine (PC) have been shown to help with ADHD.

((((((((((((((Hugs for you and your family)))))))))))))))))))))


#18

Yo Momma, I’ve been giving him fish oil for years, but didn’t know about the other stuff. I will definitely look into that. Any idea where to find that milk or whey?

Nice to ‘see’ you! :slight_smile:


#19

Here’s a link to find raw milk in Mass.

http://www.nofamass.org/programs/organicdairy/rawmilk.php


#20

Cool I actually found one very close to home. I might check that out. My boys drink a ton of milk.

Not sure if anyone is interested, but we’ve been trying neurofeedback for him. There’s a place in Providence, RI that really impressed us with their knowledge and professionalism. They say roughly 80% of people get significant, measureable improvement from it. Unfortunately my son doesn’t seem to be getting much out of it. We’re almost done with 40 sessions and lately may be seeing some subtle improvement, but won’t be pursuing it any further.

My younger son has some significant neurological issues which may include adhd, but not sure about that yet. Some of his issues may be contributing to his adhd-like symptoms so we’re focusing on figuring everything out first. There are so many interesting things out there. We just started a therapy called ‘astronaut training’ which targets the vestibular system, which is tied in to auditory and visual processing, all of which he has problems with. I’ve also learned about retained primitive reflexes which is fascinating. He definitely has some of these and we’ve started therapy for that, too. Interestingly my older son also has tested to have some retained reflexes and the symptoms are very similar to adhd. I’m going to do the reflex integration therapy with both boys and am hoping it may also help my older son with his adhd.