Is the In­ter­net giv­ing us all ADHD?

Lesotho Times - - Health -

Some sci­en­tists at the Har­vard School of Public Health have been re­search­ing the im­pact of ce­real fi­bre on diet for years. They found that peo­ple who re­ported in sur­veys a diet rich in ce­real fi­bre lived longer than those who chose less well in the morn­ing. They had a 19 per­centt re­duced risk of death, com­pared to those who ate the least amount of ce­real fi­bre.

Crunch­ing the num­bers even fur­ther, the au­thors found that highh fi­bre ce­real eaters had a 34 per­cent low­er­wer risk of death from di­a­betes and a 15 per­cent er­cent re­duced risk of death from can­cer. Peo­ple who ate a lot of whole grains and di­etar­yary fi­bre had a 17 per­cent lower risk of all-caus­ese mor­tal­ity.

Ce­real fi­bre, they con­clude, is one “po­ten­tially protective com­po­nent” of a re­ally healthy, pre­ma­ture death-pre­vent­ing ting diet.

The study was pub­lished in the lat­est is­sue of BMC Medicine.

It drew from the NIH-AARP P Diet and Health Study and in­cluded more than 566,000 AARP mem­bers ageds 50 0 tot 71 fromf six states and two large cities. It ex­cluded in­di­vid­u­als who re­ported ex­treme-en­ergy in­take, which is com­mon, since sci­en­tists be­lieve th­ese sur­vey tak­ers are not to­tally ac­cu­rate in what they re­port. That left them with over 367,000 peo­ple.

This new study builds on oth­ers that have shown that ce­real fi­bre and whole grains have a pos­i­tive im­pact on your life if you want to avoid can­cers, in­flam­ma­tion and obe­sity as well. WASH­ING­TON — Tell me if this sce­nario sounds familiar to you:

You get into work. You’re feel­ing pro­duc­tive. You’ve pow­ered through ap­prox­i­mately three emails/or­der forms/what­ever qual­i­fies as progress in your par­tic­u­lar in­dus­try when — BAM — your best friend signs on to Gchat and sends you a video of a puppy get­ting pushed around in a tiny shop­ping cart.

No big deal! – you think. You will re­turn to emails in ap­prox­i­mately five sec­onds, right af­ter you check Face­book and an­swer that email your mom sent you about the date of your cousin’s wed­ding.

But on Face­book, some­one has posted a re­ally in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cle about J Crew, which re­minds you (about two sen­tences in) that you wanted to check J Crew’s site real quick to see if it was spring sale time yet, which — oh hey!! Push no­ti­fi­ca­tion from Instagram!

It’s no se­cret that the In­ter­net presents a bevy of dis­trac­tions. Many of us have grudg­ingly ac­cepted per­pet­ual scat­ter­brain as a hall­mark of mod­ern life, as un­avoid­able as Face­book and the Kar­dashi­ans.

But in a lec­ture at SXSW last week, Uni­ver­sity of Chicago psy­chol­o­gist Michael Pi­etrus floated a provoca­tive hy­poth­e­sis: Maybe th­ese aren’t just In­ter­net-age an­noy­ances but some­thing ap­proach­ing an ac­tual pathol­ogy. Maybe the In­ter­net is giv­ing us all the symptoms of ADHD.

“We are not say­ing that In­ter­net tech­nolo­gies and so­cial me­dia are di­rectly caus­ing ADHD,” Pi­etrus cau­tions. But the In­ter­net, he says, “can im­pair func­tion­ing in a va­ri­ety of ways... that can mimic and in some cases ex­ac­er­bate un­der­ly­ing at­ten­tion prob­lems.”

ADHD, or at­ten­tion deficit hy­per-

Does that mean that eat­ing a daily bowl of your favourite pur­ple horse­shoe marsh­mal­low-sprin­kled ce­real is do­ing your body right?

Well, don’t court the lep­rechaun quite yet, di­eti­tians say. Those ce­re­als have sugar among their top in­gre­di­ents, so di­eti­tians sug­gest you avoid those.

If you want to get the daily serv­ing that th­ese re­searchers say showed a dif­fer­ence in risk re­duc­tion, you need to eat at least 10.22 grams of ce­real fi­bre per day based on a 1,000 ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der, is one of the great spec­tres of 21st-cen­tury psy­chol­ogy. For par­ents of chil­dren who have it - and more than 1 in 10 do- ADHD is a be­havioural scourge, mak­ing their kids impatient, rest­less, im­pul­sive and eas­ily bored.

For adults who have it – an es­ti­mated 4.4 per­cent — the dis­or­der can make it dif­fi­cult to con­cen­trate on one thing for any pe­riod of time. Adults with ADHD, un­like kids, usu­ally aren’t “hy­per­ac­tive” in the con­ven­tional sense. But they can be com­pul­sive, eas­ily dis­tracted, eas­ily bored. They lose in­ter­est half­way through read­ing an ar­ti­cle or com­plet­ing a task.

They’re “hard­wired for nov­elty kcal daily diet.

If you want to get your fill with just one serv­ing of ce­real, aim for those that have “fi­bre” in the ti­tle or list at least 10 grams of fi­bre per serv­ing on the la­bel. Fi­bre One lists 14g per serv­ing. Kashi Golean lists 10g. Mini-wheats lists 8g.

If you can’t stand the taste of high-fi­bre ce­re­als, don’t worry. Other popular ce­re­als such as Chee­rios have about 3g of fi­bre per serv­ing, as do Honey Bunches of Oats. Oat­meal is a seek­ing,” Pi­etrus said — much like your av­er­age In­ter­net junkie, open­ing 150 tabs at a time and clutch­ing his smart­phone in jit­tery hands.

Af­ter all, when you think about it, the In­ter­net es­sen­tially prom­ises two things: in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion and an end­less, var­ied, hy­per-stim­u­lat­ing buf­fet of en­ter­tain­ment and in­for­ma­tion op­tions. If you don’t like one thing within the first five sec­onds, you can (and, science says, do) jump to some­thing else.

The In­ter­net, it turns out, in­cen­tivises the ex­act types of be­hav­iours and thought pro­cesses that char­ac­terise ADHD.

The ques­tion now is whether the symptoms of com­pul­sive In­ter­net use and the symptoms of ADHD share any deeper com­mon­al­i­ties. Re­searchers have, it’s worth not­ing, linked the two be­fore: ADHD is a com­mon “co­mor­bid­ity,” or ac­com­pa­ny­ing con­di­tion, of In­ter­net ad­dic­tion, which means that peo­ple who use the In­ter­net ex­ces­sively are likely to also have symptoms of ADHD.

ADHD rates, much like In­ter­net use, are also in­ex­pli­ca­bly up over the past 10 years: from 7.8 per­cent of kids in 2003 to 11 per­cent in 2011, the last year the CDC mea­sured.

And while we tend to think of at­ten­tion or dis­ci­pline as a sort of con­stant, a mat­ter of in­di­vid­ual per­son­al­ity, Pi­etrus points out that the brain can change - and it can change in re­sponse to how we use tech­nol­ogy.

“But which way the ar­row of causal­ity flows is the im­por­tant ques­tion,” ex­plained Peter Killeen, a for­mer be­havioural neu­ro­science re­searcher at Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity who has writ­ten ex­ten­sively on ADHD.

Killeen points out the clas­sic parental fear of of kids de­vel­op­ing ADHD from video games. There does in­deed seem to be some in­di­ca­tion that the at­ten­tion-deficit play games more — but is that be­cause the games are giv­ing them ADHD, be­cause they’re more drawn to their flashi­ness than the av­er­age kid, or be­cause ex­ces­sive gam­ing can de­lay so­cial devel­op­ment in any child and it’s just more ob­vi­ous in the ones with ADHD?

The case of In­ter­net use is sim­i­lar: The web cer­tainly may cause Adhd-like symptoms, and it could ex­ac­er­bate the dis­or­der in chil­dren and adults who suf­fer from it al­ready ... but there’s no ev­i­dence that In­ter­net use could ac­tu­ally cause an oth­er­wise healthy per­son to de­velop the dis­or­der.

Af­ter all, ADHD is be­lieved to have a range of un­der­ly­ing ge­netic causes, things you couldn’t just “catch” from a com­puter screen. And as Pi­etrus him­self points out, there isn’t yet enough re­search to com­ment on causal­ity. (“Show­ing some­thing is ‘causal’ in psy­chi­a­try is re­ally dif­fi­cult be­cause peo­ple with dif­fi­cul­ties are of­ten the ones that se­lect spe­cific types of en­vi­ron­ment,” said Anita Tha­par, a clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of child and ado­les­cent psy­chi­a­try at Cardiff Uni­ver­sity. In other words, peo­ple with ADHD might just go on the In­ter­net more.)

There’s even some re­search, in fact, that the In­ter­net could ac­tu­ally help peo­ple with at­ten­tion dis­or­ders. Last June, a team of Swedish re­searchers tri­alled an on­line ther­apy pro­gramme for adults with the dis­or­der; adults in the pro­gramem saw a sharp re­duc­tion in their symptoms, even though (or per­haps be­cause?) the ther­apy was ad­min­is­tered on­line.

What­ever the ex­act re­la­tion­ship be­tween the In­ter­net and ADHD, Pi­etrus says it is im­por­tant to re­alise that push­ing back against th­ese symptoms re­quires a care­ful, in­ten­tional strat­egy.

There’s a lot of re­search that sug­gests mind­ful­ness and med­i­ta­tion could help peo­ple sus­tain their at­ten­tion, even on­line; Pi­etrus also sug­gests tech­niques like ex­pres­sive writ­ing or “chunk­ing,” which helps short-term in­for­ma­tion stick in your mind.

“The big­gest thing is to in­crease aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing of what so­cial me­dia and tech­nol­ogy are do­ing to us,” he said. “Once we ac­knowl­edge the po­ten­tial ef­fects on our brains, we can make bet­ter­in­formed choices about our ac­tions and be­havioural pat­terns.”

— Wash­ing­ton Post

ADHD rates ARE Also In­ex­pli­ca­bly up over THE past 10 years.

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