In 2011, approximately 11% of school-age children were diagnosed with ADHD. The rate of diagnosis has increased an average of 3% each year. Children and young adults with mental health disorders can experience dramatic changes in their behavior and personality during the most formative years of their young lives. Parents, siblings, teachers, and friends find it difficult to cope with changes in behavior, because the abrupt changes upset the harmony of everyday life. For parents especially, changes in routine are difficult to overcome, taking more energy away from already challenging roles at work and compiling stress at home.
The changes are difficult to manage for children, victims of a life altering disease. They may feel ostracized from activities and friendships, possibly withdrawing from healthy interactions. For them, it may feel devastating or impossible to overcome.
Current medications have been found to be very effective in controlling many types of hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive behaviors, such as not listening or unable to understand instructions, or combined.
ADHD and Other
With ADHD, the challenge has been to find a therapy that is effective and not a psychostimulant. The controversy over these drugs stems from their side-effects, such as decreased appetite, stunting of growth, increased heart rate, and powerfully addicting agent. Because of the side-effects, some parents choose to forego medications to treat the ADHD. “Statistically, if ADHD is left untreated, children will underperform at school, suffering the loss of a good education,” explained Martin S. Kane, MD, a Principal Investigator at Meridien Research’s Maitland location. “This has a snowball effect. When they become adults, they are statistically at-risk for more job changes, car accidents, divorces, and financial instability. We’ve been a part of several studies involving non-psycho-stimulants that appear to be effective.”
One of the ground breaking studies at Meridien Research uses technology to help adolescents and young children with ADHD. As useful adjuncts to medication, or for people experiencing undesirable medication side-effects, the use of iPads and tablet devices was approved by the FDA to help to diagnose ADHD. Recently, software developers and clinicians have come together to create games that treat cognitive functioning and the early trials are very promising. Kids play the game online and improve their attention by increasing their working memory. Alternatives to medication will offer parents and children more ways to feel better and become more attentive and on-task.
Dr. Kane received his MD from St. George’s University and completed his specialization in psychiatry at the University of Florida. He spent almost thirty years in private practice before joining Meridien Research (formerly Florida Clinical Research) in 2007.
“Going into research, physicians have the ability to the patient in what we call the ‘pure disease state,’ unencumbered by concomitant diseases that confound treatment,” Dr. Kane explained. “For example, in private practice, there will be substance abuse disorders and personality disorders along with the diagnosis you are trying to treat. In a research study, all of the disorders are screened out and the focus is solely directed on a single medical condition like ADHD. This allows us to better understand the disease and help other clinicians treat their patients with the latest medications and non-drug therapies.”
For more information on the ADHD and other pediatric research studies taking place at Meridien Research, please look at the Studies pages of our website or call 888-777-8839.