Does Omega 3 Protect Against ADHD?


We are always interested in learning more about alternative treatments.
A study published in ScienceDaily (01/12/2007) will provide further information and understanding about the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the brain function of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, is conducting a trial studying the effects of fatty acids on the learning skills, attention span, memory, reaction time and behaviour of 150 children with ADHD over 12 weeks. The effects were also explored in 100 children without ADHD.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in seafood, particularly fish. There is increasing evidence that a lack of these acids may be associated with developmental problems like ADHD — a common mental health problem which affects around 12 per cent of Australian children [Presently, the United States only acknowledges about 5 per cent of children have ADHD.].

The evidence for positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids in children is mixed and the Murdoch Childrens’ study will be one of the first to examine the issue in detail.

Researcher Dr Alex Collie says “ADHD is such a common disorder in Australia. This study will be an important step in validating claims that omega-3 fatty acids have a direct affect on cognition as well as behaviour.”

Currently, the most commonly prescribed treatment for ADHD is stimulant medication. However in recent years parents have sought alternative treatments and researchers have noticed an increase in the use of omega-3 fatty acids.

Children taking part in the study will complete learning and behaviour tests in the first, fourth and 12th week of the study. During this time they will be given dietary supplements of either omega-3 fatty acids or placebo (supplements with no active ingredient). The children’s parents and teachers will also participate, monitor and rate the childrens’ behavior.

Let us know your personal experiences with Omega 3.


Your 21st Century Brain on Facebook


We all know that individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder are challenged with more than attention or multi-tasking; and yet the premise of the article is accurate in expressing how the speed of technology can affect individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder.  Read the article and let us know your thoughts and feelings…

By Bridgitt Robertson  

Atlanta Web Examiner  - Published: February 28, 2009

Are you experiencing short attention spans? Do you have difficulty empathizing with others? Well, according to one neuroscientist, this might be the result of your visits to social networking sites like Facebook.

According to Professor Greenfield, a neuroscientist at Lincoln college, “It might be helpful to investigate whether the near total submersion of our culture in screen technologies over the last decade might in some way be linked to the threefold increase over this period in prescriptions for methylphenidate, the drug prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.”  Methylphenidate, or Ritalin, prescriptions have also increased in the US. Interestingly, college students in the U.S. who were already on Ritalin, Prozac and other psych meds and in need of additional counseling rose from 7% in 1992 to 18% in 2000. Could there be a link to their online activities?

Some experts suggest that excessive exposure to new digital technology can be problematic for the brain’s ability to respond. In fact, there are some studies that suggest that not everyone can handle multitasking and that the demands of today’s technologies may result in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

While we applause the vast technological changes taking place in our society, some experts say that such technologies prevent us from paying full attention to one thing. That technologies like instant messenging and Twitter require quick responses versus depth and sublety in our thinking.

According to Dr. Greenfield, who spoke of one Facebook user claiming 900 friends,”that you can’t see or hear other people makes it easier to reveal yourself in a way that you might not be comfortable with. You become less conscious of the individuals involved [including yourself], less inhibited, less embarrassed and less concerned about how you will be evaluated.”

Given the brain’s exposure to roughly eight hours of technology every day, it is likely that our high-tech revolution will have some sort of impact on our behavior. In fact, initial results indicate important links between extensive brain exposure to new technology and mental disorders.

So the next time your attention span is short or you feel you’re lacking emphathy, perhaps that’s the time to turn off the computer and your other electronic gadgets and go outside and get some good fresh air.


ADHD Success is a Result of…

“Success is a result of good judgement…
Good judgement is the result of experience…
Experience is the result of bad judgement… ”

Mark Twain

I recently found this quote in my notes.  It triggered some thoughts about my clients that I wanted to share with you.  Clients frequently and mistakenly have a magical belief that good judgement just happens.  Let me clearly state that good judgement comes from the learning experiences of life.  We are so afraid of what others think and the way others view us, those thoughts drag us down and frequently add to our stressers.

Emily did not have enough money to pay for her car insurance.  She was embarrassed, she didn’t want anyone to know about her financial situation.  Emily needed about $150 to pay the $400.00 auto insurance. Emily’s auto policy lapsed and she had a car accident.  Because she had no insurance, her license was suspended, she had fines for driving without insurance and of course the cost to fix both cars.  This experience taught Emily to always maintain her auto insurance.  A year later Emily found herself in the same situation.  She questioned whether to let the auto policy lapse or borrow the money. This time she reached out and borrowed the money she needed to keep her auto policy in effect. A week later, her son was in a minor accident.  She was thrilled that she had made the decision to maintain the auto insurance, rather than let it lapse.

Ironically, we only learn through our experiences and it is those experiences that help us make good decisions.  Let me know your thoughts and experiences relating to how you used the learning from bad judgments to do something successful.  We will post your comments and stories.

ADHD,ADHD Children,ADHD Parents

ADHD Youth Develop Ahead in Motor Skills

Youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were shown to have brain development delayed an average of three years compared to children without the disorder according to research done in a 2007 study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).   Of particular interest to parents is the finding that the most prominent delay was in the frontal cortex in ADHD kids. The frontal cortex is important because it regulates our ability to control thinking, attention and planning. These frontal areas also are believed to support the brains ability to suppress inappropriate actions and thoughts, focus attention, remember things from moment-to-moment, work for reward, and control movement – many of these functions are often disturbed in people with ADHD. 

Not surprisingly to parents of hyperactive ADHD kids, the NIMH study also found that the motor cortex, the part of the brain that controls movement, emerged as the only area that matured faster than normal in the youth with ADHD (on average 5 years ahead of their non-ADHD peers). This gives us a better picture of the mismatch between increased motor activity combined with a decreased ability to focus, plan and inhibit thoughts and actions in kids with ADHD.

This sounds very familiar to me as I think of what ADHD in children often looks like in real life. One child told me that “my body is a Ferrari and my mind sometimes feels like a tricycle.”  Sometimes ADHD kids seem to put the gas pedal to the metal while other times getting them to move is like trying to push a car uphill with the emergency brake on.  This mismatch between motor ability and executive function should come as a relief to parents of ADHD kids looking for better insight into the origins of childhood ADHD.

There is hope. Parents should know that it is believed that stimulant medication, the front line defense for treating ADHD, is believed to assist the brain in this delicate balancing act between focus, action and inhibition of the prefrontal regions of the brain.  Helping your child understand the biological realities of ADHD can go a long way in increasing your child’s self-esteem.  Remember, we can only work with the assets our children have not those which are neurologically unavailable at the time.

NIH/National Institute of Mental Health (2007, November 13).  Brain Matures A Few Years Late In ADHD, But Follows Normal Pattern. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 29, 2008, from  /releases/2007/11/071112172200.htm


Study Links Early Injuries to ADHD


CEC SMARTBRIEF, January 02, 2009

Infants and toddlers who suffer head injuries or burns are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD before they turn 10, according to a new British study of 62,000 children. Such injuries may be early signs of risky behavior associated with ADHD, or the injuries might cause later behavioral changes, researchers say.

ADHD,ADHD Conferences,ADHD Parents,Adult ADHD

Meditation may reduce ADHD symptoms


CEC SMARTBRIEF, January 02, 2009

A small group of middle-school students who practiced transcendental meditation twice daily at school reduced their stress and anxiety by 50% and improved ADHD symptoms as well, according to a new study published in Current Issues in Education. The changes after three months were much more dramatic than researchers expected, including better attention, memory, organizational and behavioral skills, said lead researcher Sarina J. Grosswald. WCVB-TV (Boston) (12/31)


Problems Sensing Time?


ADHD expert Russell A. Barkely, Ph.D. notes that “recent research suggests that those with ADHD cannot sense or use time as adequately as others in their daily activities, such that they are often late for appointments and deadlines, ill-prepared for upcoming activities, and less able to pursue long-term goals and plans as well as others. Problems with time management and organizing themselves for upcoming events are commonplace in older children and adults with the disorder.” This is confirming evidence of the tyranny of time faced by so many us and our children today.




Adults with ADHD generally had a higher number of jobs over the course of the past 10 years than adults without ADHD.  On average, those with ADHD had 5.4 jobs in a 10 year period.  Of those surveyed only 52% of the adults with ADHD are currently employed and 43% report that they lost or left one or more of their jobs in some part because o their ADHD symptoms.




Adults with ADHD have less stable relationships than those adults without ADHD.  Individuals with ADHD are twice as likely to be divorced and/or sepeated.  Less than half of those surveyed who are currently in relationships say they are “completely satisfied” with their relationship partners or loved ones, compared to 58% of those people surveyed without ADHD.




Adults with ADHD are twice as likely to have been arrested, with 37% of the adults with ADHD surveyed acknowledgeding a prior arrest.




Adults with ADHD are more likely to engage in harmful or antisocial behaviors, like smoking, drinking and illegal drug use.  Over 60% of the adults with ADHD surveyed have been addicted to tobacco while 52% have used drugs recreationally.




Adults with ADHD are less likely to expess a positive self-image (translation > having a poor self image).  Only 40% of adults with ADHD “strongly agree” that they have a bright outlook on their future, versus 67% of the adults surveyed without ADHD.  Additionally, only half (50%) of adults with ADHD surveyed like being themselves and accept themselves for who they are compared to 76% of adults without ADHD.




Adults with ADHD are three times more likely to suffer from stress, depression or other problems with emotion.  These problems cause people with ADHD to “lose” days of their lives.  “Lost days” can show up as an absent day from work or several times throughout the month when the person is not fully engaged.  About one in four adults (24 percent) with ADHD said that on 11 days per month, on average, they were prevented from normal activities such as work, due to poor mental or physical health, compared to only nine persent of the adults without ADHD.


No Cancer Risk with ADHD Meds


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, November 2008

Contrary to a previous concerns, new research shows ADHD medications don’t increase genetic damage and cancer risk.

A new study from Duke University Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health found that two popular medications for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — methylphenidate (Ritalin LA and Concerta) and amphetamine (Adderall and Adderall XR) — do not lead to an increased risk for developing cancer.

The study counters a previous one that reported an increase in genetic damage in children taking methylphenidate. The genetic damage is associated with an increased risk of cancer.

The new study used a larger sample of children, and did not find increased genetic abnormalities.

The study was published in the November online issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Read more about the study


Can attention deficit be framed as a gift?


By Tara Parker-Pope

International Herald Tribune, France    Published: November 25, 2008

When pediatricians diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, they often ask their patients whether they know anybody else with the problem.

These days, children are likely to reply with a household name: Michael Phelps, the Olympic superstar, who is emerging as an inspirational role model among parents and children whose lives are affected by attention problems.

“There is a tremendous, tremendous amount of pride – I got the impression sometimes that some of the kids felt like they owned Michael,” said Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, director of the Child Study Center at New York University Langone Medical Center. “There is a special feeling when someone belongs to your club and the whole world is adoring him.”

But the emergence of a major celebrity with attention deficit has revealed a schism in the community of patients, parents, doctors and educators who deal with the disorder. For years, these people have debated whether it means a lifetime of limitations or whether it can sometimes be a good thing.

Children with the disorder typically have trouble sitting still and paying attention. But they may also have boundless energy and a laser-like focus on favorite things – qualities that could be very helpful in, say, an Olympic athlete.

For that reason, some doctors are pushing for a new view that focuses on the potential strengths of the disorder. Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, a psychiatrist and author whose books include “Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping With Attention Deficit Disorder From Childhood Through Adulthood” (Touchstone, 1995), says the current “deficit-based medical model” of the disorder results in low self-esteem.

“It’s not an unmitigated blessing, but neither is it an unmitigated curse, which is usually the way it’s presented,” said Hallowell, who has the disorder himself. “I have been treating this condition for 25 years, and I know that if you manage it right, this apparent deficit can become an asset. I think of it as a trait and not a disability.”

The notion that a disability can be harnessed in a positive way is not a new concept. Last year, a study found that 35 percent of the small-business entrepreneurs surveyed identified themselves as dyslexic. The researchers concluded that dyslexia made them better communicators and problem-solvers, more likely to delegate authority.

Hallowell says low self-esteem and low expectations result from the way the ADHD diagnosis is presented to children, parents and teachers. He tells children with attention deficit that they have the brain of a race car, and he wants to work with them to build better brakes.

“We want to tell children, ‘You’ve got a difference, but not a disease,”‘ he said. “Michael Phelps is one of any thousands of examples of mega-successful people – CEOs and brain surgeons and famous writers, inventors and entrepreneurs – who have ADHD.”

Other experts, however, say that parents need to know that their children face real risks. Research shows that children with attention deficit have different brain patterns from other children, and that they are more likely to drop out of school, be involved in car accidents and use illicit drugs.

“This reframing ADHD as a gift – personally I don’t think it’s helpful,” said Natalie Knochenhauer, founder of ADHD Aware, an advocacy group in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. “You can’t have a disability that needs to be accommodated in the classroom, and also have this special gift. There are a lot of people out there – not only do their kids not have gifts, but their kids are really struggling.”

Knochenhauer, who has four children with the disorder, says they too were inspired by the astonishing performance of Phelps in Beijing. But, she added, “I would argue that Michael Phelps is a great swimmer with ADHD, but he’s not a great swimmer because he has ADHD.”

Koplewicz, of NYU, agreed. “There are lots of children in the world who have chronic illnesses or disorders like diabetes, allergies or dyslexia who accomplish great things in spite of the fact that they have these disorders,” he said. “I worry when we say ADHD is a gift that this minimizes how real it is.”

Michael Phelps’ mother, Deborah Phelps, says she has spoken openly about her son’s diagnosis because she wants other parents to seek out resources and support. Her son stopped taking ADHD medication at age 10. But today, Deborah Phelps is a national spokeswoman for McNeil Pediatrics, which makes the attention-deficit drug Concerta.  (Hallowell and Knochenhauer have also consulted for McNeil; Koplewicz has no industry ties.)

Deborah Phelps, who is a school principal in Baltimore, says it may require extra effort and knowledge to help children with the disorder harness their talents.

“You’ll find they are creative children,” she said. “They do have determination when you are able to work with them and be consistent. I want young parents to reach out and get assistance and not give up hope.”

Share your thoughts and experiences about ADHD being a gift


No evidence that additives cause ADHD…


The Patriot Ledger, Washington, D.C. —   Posted: November 25, 2008 

Despite suggestions made in Joan Endyke’s Nov. 12 column, “Healthy Eating: Artificial food additives affect children’s behavior;” the vast body of science supports the conclusion that additives do not cause childhood hyperactivity.

In fact, this position is supported by the National Resource Center on ADHD, a national clearinghouse for evidence-based information about Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further, based on at least eight controlled studies from 1982 to 1997, the National Resource Center on ADHD has found no direct link between these food colors and hyperactivity in a large majority of the population. 

We would like to here your thoughts about additives and ADHD….

ADHD,ADHD Parents,Adult ADHD

More Than Medication for treating ADHD

Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

While medication is often essential to the treatment and management of ADHD, there are several key strategies that must also be in place in order to maximize the outcome of your  medication regimen and optimize your success. Three essential strategies for people with ADHD are adding some type of physical exercise to their life, increasing protein intake to power the brain, and avoiding foods that render many ADHD medications inactive.

We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, but did you know that it is also good for your brain? I often tell my patients that exercise is like a tiny dose of natural Ritalin.  Exercise and ADHD medications both have something in common, they both almost immediately elevate dopamine and norepinepherine in the brain.   In turn, this helps the brain to quiet down impulsivity, decrease the need for instant gratification, as well as wake up the executive function in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. Waking up the pre-frontal cortex provides mental space between thoughts and actions, and therefore gives you more time to evaluate consequences and make better decisions.  In addition, exercise has been shown to improve mood, decrease problems with sleep as well as decrease stress and restlessness. Exercise is an essential part of treating and regulating ADHD.

Did you know you might be eating foods that actually render your medication useless! Have you ever had a morning where you just can’t figure out why your medication isn’t working like it normally does?  The facts are simple here. Certain foods, especially those high in Citric Acid or/or high in Vitamin C (also called Ascorbic Acid), decrease or renders many popular ADHD medications inactive. So if you are taking stimulant medication with orange juice in the morning, you have just canceled out part of the effect of that dose of medication. Another culprit are multivitamins, if you take your ADHD medications in the morning, you would be wise to take your multivitamins in the evening. I recommend you limit your intake of juice, soda, and lemonade to the evenings only.  In addition, read the labels of your favorite snack bar and breakfast cereal, you might be surprised to find lots of vitamin C in those products as well.  Mornings for most individuals with ADHD are tough enough, so avoid those foods or beverages in the A.M. and you’ll find that things just work better.  

How about foods you should be eating?  The science here is pretty straight forward. Most medications for ADHD work on the regulation of Dopamine in the brain. Protein and foods that contain protein provide the body with the essential building blocks for the production of Dopamine in the body. If you are not eating enough protein (especially in the morning when your brain’s gas tank is on empty) then you are not providing your brain with what it needs to produce Dopamine. Without protein, the ADHD medications just don’t work as well. Increase your intake of dietary protein and you increase your medications ability to help your brain function better. An easy rule of thumb is protein clarifies thoughts and carbohydrates cloud thoughts.  That does not mean eliminate “carbs” all together. It does mean taking a good look at how much high quality protein you are taking in and how many sugary high carbohydrates could be avoided. 

Living with ADHD can be greatly improved with a few simple steps. First, get regular exercise like walking or riding a bike.  Second, avoid foods that contain Vitamin C or high amounts of Citric Acid one hour before and after taking your ADHD medication.  Finally, give your brain some protein, especially in the morning and avoid empty carbohydrate calories, and you will give your brain a terrific performance boost. 

ADHD,ADHD Conferences

CHADD’s 20th Annual International Conference on AD/HD

CHADD’s 20th Annual International Conference on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in AnaheimCalifornia, the Home of Disneyland and Magic…

We left the confines of our offices to explore the latest research findings, medication updates, and approaches to treatment from some of the leading experts in the world of AD/HD.  Organizers expect about 1000 people from across the United States and many foreign countries to be here this week.  Can you believe so many ADDers, in one place, at the same time.  I’m sure it was not easy for some of them to get here.  Attendees came from all over the United States. International attendees came from all parts of world including a large Latin America contingent, Europe, Israel, and Japan.

The conference is arranged so that professionals, teachers, individuals and families can obtain the latest information that may be most valuable to them in their daily lives.  There are too many presentations for us to attend all of the ones we are interested in, choices-choices. Several of our staff will also be joining us here at the conference.  We will all do our best to write up some of the highlights and share them with you when we return. We look forward to your comments and questions. 

ADHD,ADHD Parents,Adult ADHD

What are the symptoms of ADHD

Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

The principal characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms appear early in a child’s life. Because many normal children may have these symptoms, but at a low level, or the symptoms may be caused by another disorder, it is important that the child receive a thorough examination and appropriate diagnosis by a well-qualified professional.

Symptoms of ADHD will appear over the course of many months, often with the symptoms of impulsiveness and hyperactivity preceding those of inattention, which may not emerge for a year or more. Different symptoms may appear in different settings, depending on the demands the situation may pose for the child’s self-control. A child who “can’t sit still” or is otherwise disruptive will be noticeable in school, but the inattentive daydreamer may be overlooked. The impulsive child who acts before thinking may be considered just a “discipline problem,” while the child who is passive or sluggish may be viewed as merely unmotivated. Yet both may have different types of ADHD. All children are sometimes restless, sometimes act without thinking, sometimes daydream the time away. When the child’s hyperactivity, distractibility, poor concentration, or impulsivity begin to affect performance in school, social relationships with other children, or behavior at home, ADHD may be suspected. But because the symptoms vary so much across settings, ADHD is not easy to diagnose. This is especially true when inattentiveness is the primary symptom.

According to the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders2 (DSM-IV-TR), there are three patterns of behavior that indicate ADHD. People with ADHD may show several signs of being consistently inattentive. They may have a pattern of being hyperactive and impulsive far more than others of their age. Or they may show all three types of behavior. This means that there are three subtypes of ADHD recognized by professionals. These are the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type (that does not show significant inattention); the predominantly inattentive type (that does not show significant hyperactive-impulsive behavior) sometimes called ADD – an outdated term for this entire disorder; and the combined type (that displays both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms).


Do you suffer from Adult ADD?

Fidgeting, interrupting conversations, losing things, and forgetting a train of thought. Most people have these problems every once in a while. However, a long and persistent history of restless, impulsive, or inattentive behavior may be a sign of Adult ADD.

This is especially true if these behaviors have persisted since childhood and cause problems at work, home, or in social situations. Recent research suggests that Adult ADHD is under diagnosed and under treated. Many adults with ADD suffer unnecessarily and struggle through their lives without the support and help they need.

It is estimated that ADHD affects around 4-5% of the adult population, or more than 9 million adults. Only a small fraction of these will find expert professional help. Without guidance, many will medicate themselves with caffeine, nicotine, or sometimes even illicit substances like cocaine or methamphetamines just to manage their symptoms and achieve some sense of normalcy.

If you experience any of these behaviors, you may be one of the millions of adults with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD. We sometimes refer to ADD as Attention Surplus, dividing your attention into many areas at the same time. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have difficulty concentrating or focusing your attention on one thing?

  • Do you often start multiple projects at the same time, but rarely finish them?

  • Do you have trouble staying organized?

  • Do you procrastinate on projects that take a lot of attention to detail or sustained concentration?

  • Do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?

  • Do you have trouble staying seated during meetings or other activities?

  • Are you restless or fidgety?

  • Do you often lose or misplace things?

If you answered “Yes” to all or many of these questions please contact us and we can help you get started with a plan to improve your life. We’ll explain all of your options, our treatment approach, as well as where our clinicians can determine whether or not you have ADD/ADHD.


Most medical doctors who treat ADD/ADHD do so as part of a larger practice. ADHD Specialists focuses primarily on only treating ADD and related conditions. This intense focus allows us to continually sharpen our clinical skills, attend specialized training, utilize the latest therapies, and build our process to meet the specific needs of our clients.

Often medical, testing and counseling services are all separately owned and located practices. It just does not make sense to have to travel from one location to another to treat the same condition. Besides the issue of time and travel, how cohesive and effective is care being delivered in multiple locations by multiple, unrelated providers who don’t have time to talk to each other?

We Are Conveniently Located

in the Northern area of Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, in the City of Encino, near the 405 and 101 freeway interchange.
15720 Ventura Blvd. #503

Encino, CA 91436