A Little ADHD Science:
We have one amygdala deep in each side of the brain, a small group of nerve cells very involved with emotions. The frontal lobe is a whole section of the brain, guess where?
Basically, the amygdala is the accelerator. It’s always on, saying, “Go, go, go! Do it, do it, do it!”
The amygdala is connected to the frontal lobe, the brake, which is not always on, but when it is it says, “Hey, calm down, slow down. Wait a minute. Let’s think about this. What are the consequences, the pros and cons of this?” (Note the absence of !’s.)
Ideally, there’s a good connection and a balance between these two, but as we’ve been reading, not all of our ADHD connections, our networks, are in good shape. This helps understand our impulsiveness.
Recent research says ADHD is about seventy percent heritable. Most cases come from a compilation of a large number of genes with common mutations; the more of these gene mutations you have the more likely you’ll have ADHD and the more severe it’s likely to be. Many of these genes are involved in regulating the early development of the brain, including the networks.
To better identify which genes are ADHD involved, the researchers looked at genes involved in the many different types of intellectual impairment (retardation), each of which is usually caused by a rare mutation in a single gene, very different from ADHD.
They found that many of the retardation genes are among those which (with common mutations) are involved in ADHD, and are especially involved in sleep disturbance and hyperactivity.
I think the significance of the gene study is that it specifically identified some of the many genes that contribute to ADHD and opened the door to studying their specific effects on the brain and thus on symptoms.
Personal Notes O the Day:
- I’m not sure that I correctly understand anything I’ve said above and I welcome any comments about it.
- I’m making progress on both the novel and the ADHD book, creeping along.
- Retirement is a lot harder than I’d imagined; I haven’t adjusted to it yet. I don’t miss the travel, the stress, the burden of responsibility, but I do miss the work itself. This freedom is what I’d always imagined as heaven, nirvana, bliss, but the time has a tendency to fill up, to get just as busy as before. It’s hard to balance being and doing, which is my goal now. And it feels like something is missing: zest, color, purpose, significance. Life seems a little bland now; maybe the amygdala is understimulated? Maybe it’s been somewhat like this for people who’ve been out of work due to the virus?
Possibly Irrelevant Points O the Day:
- Sleep problems may be a specific symptom of ADHD. And if we do not get adequate sleep our symptoms get worse.
- Some researchers, not these, are using a new definition of intellectual impairment, which includes problems with things like focus and problem solving. This could lead to interesting effects on research findings and particularly on ADHD.
- Many people with intellectual impairment ( the old definition) also have ADHD. (Life is not fair.)
I plan to do posts on sleep problems and on which ADHD symptoms are not helped by medication. Any other requests or suggestions?
See in ADHD web site – many ADHD articles
#ADHD, @addstrategies, @adhdstrategies, @dougmkpdp