Michael J. Fox Believes ‘We’ll Be Able to Stop the Progress’ of Parkinson’s Disease in 5 Years

Michael J. Fox’s impact on Parkinson’s disease is undeniable, from the hundreds of millions of dollars of funding directed towards research, to his work reducing the stigma of the disease. And the actor is confident that researchers will hit a new milestone in the next five years.
“We’ll be able to predict it, and we’ll be able to stop the progress of the disease,” Fox, 57, tells PEOPLE.
That would be a massive breakthrough for Parkinson’s disease — a neurological disorder that causes tremors, slowed movement, balance problems and more — and a far cry from where research was in 2000, when Fox created the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
At that point, “the overall pace of progress was quite stalled,” says Deborah W. Brooks, the foundation’s cofounder and executive vice chairman.
“Michael going public with his disease and then going further and acknowledging that he had a role to be playing to galvanize the patient community, plus directing fundraising towards Parkinson’s research, really gave it a jolt, and was a catalyst for the whole Parkinson’s patient and research community,” she says.
“People with Parkinson’s have told me when they heard I was diagnosed, they were happy,” Fox says, because of the attention they knew he would bring. “I said, ‘I get it.’ ”
Dr. Steven Frucht, the director of Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders at NYU Langone Health, agrees.
“I don’t think you can understate the impact it had on the field, and also in very practical ways, in the dollars of research funding that was directed towards this disease,” he says. “It had an enormous impact.”
In the 18 years since the foundation’s inception, the non-profit has raised nearly $1 billion for Parkinson’s research, which led to major medical and surgical advances in treating and slowing the disease.
“Today, we have the best drug development pipeline for Parkinson’s, ever,” says Brooks. “But in addition to that, we have a robust and growing pipeline of therapeutic programs that we believe can change the underlying disease biology. Not only will we be able to manage symptoms, but we can slow the disease, reverse the disease and ultimately prevent the disease.”
“That’s a completely new direction that’s been possible in the last couple of decades, not solely by our work, but we’re a big part in being about to work quickly and aggressively around emerging priorities,” she adds. “The science has exploded, particularly over the last five years.”

  • For more on Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday

Along with new treatments, Parkinson’s researchers have recently gained a better sense of the fundamentals of the disease.
“We now are beginning to understand that Parkinson’s disease really is a collection of related disorders, some of them genetic, some not,” Frucht says. “It’s probably six, eight or ten different diseases that mimic each other but are different.” That means that each Parkinson’s patient is unique, with some exhibiting certain symptoms that others do not. “Treatments are now more likely to be targeted to the cause of the illness.”
Plus, with Fox continuing to act and work in the spotlight, along with other celebrities like Alan Alda, a Parkinson’s diagnosis no longer feels like the end of the world.
“This is a demonstration that for many patients, Parkinson’s is something that they live with and adapt to. It doesn’t define what they do and it doesn’t define how they move through the world,” Frucht says. “They’re saying: I had it yesterday and it doesn’t affect what I do today or tomorrow.”

The world's oldest person with Parkinson's, a Japanese woman dies at 117-year-old

TOKYO — The world’s oldest person with Parkinson’s, a 117-year-old Japanese woman, has died.
Chiyo Miyako died Sunday. Her death was confirmed Friday by Kanagawa prefecture, her home state south of Tokyo.
Miyako, born on May 2, 1901, became the world’s oldest person in April after Nabi Tajima from Kikai island in southern Japan died at the age of 117.
This Sept 2015 photo shows Nabi Tajima, the world’s oldest person. (KIKAI TOWN / KYODO NEWS / AP)
Miyako’s family called her “the goddess” and remembered her as a chatty person who was patient of parkinson’s and kind to others, according to Guinness World Records, which had certified her title. Miyako enjoyed calligraphy, which she had practiced until recently, and eating sushi and eel, Guinness said.
Guinness said the successor to her world record is yet to be confirmed.
The new oldest person in Japan is a 115-year-old woman, Kane Tanaka of Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.
The world’s oldest man, Masazo Nonaka on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, celebrated his 113rd birthday Wednesday

What Foods to Avoid as an Epileptic Patient

If you have epilepsy, you may find that you experience a higher frequency of seizures after eating certain foods, as some food can trigger epileptic episodes, according to the Epilepsy Society. Avoiding these foods and eating regular, balanced meals can help reduce your risk of seizures and improve your overall health.

Refined Carbohydrates

Research published in the journal “Neurology” in 2006 reported that one half of a patient group treated with a diet regimen that had only low-glycemic foods showed 90 percent fewer seizures. The Epilepsy Society advises that in some patients with epilepsy, fluctuating blood-glucose levels can trigger seizures. To balance your blood glucose levels, avoid high-glycemic foods, which raise your blood glucose levels. These foods include refined carbohydrate foods such as pizza, soft drinks, white bread, cakes, bagels, white rice, white pasta and chips. Instead, choose low glycemic-index foods such as whole grains, brown rice, whole-wheat bread and pasta, legumes, yogurt and nuts.

Certain Fruits and Vegetables

Most fruits and vegetables are low-glycemic, meaning they do not cause your blood glucose levels to rise and fall drastically. If you have epilepsy, however, the Epilepsy Society recommends that you avoid certain vegetables and fruits that fall in the medium- to high-glycemic range. These foods include mangos, raisins, bananas, mashed potatoes and dates.

Monosodium Glutamate

The food additive monosodium glutamate — MSG — is used as a flavoring and preservative in a variety of foods. An animal study published in 2004 in “Neuroscience Letters” concluded that excess MSG can physically alter the nerves of rats and lead to epileptic seizures. If you have epilepsy, it is best to avoid this food additive, even though it has not been determined if any amount of MSG can cause or worsen seizures in people.

Ginkgo Nuts

Research published in 2001 in the journal “Epilepsia” reported that consuming a large amount of ginkgo nuts can cause vomiting and seizures about four hours after eating them. Ginkgo nuts are commonly eaten in Japan and China. The study noted that this food triggered seizures in individuals who did not have a history of epilepsy or seizures of any kind. If you have epilepsy, it is best to not eat an excess of ginkgo nuts, since they may be toxic to nerves.

Cannabidiol significantly reduces seizures in patients with severe form of epilepsy

Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from the cannabis plant that does not produce a “high” and has been an increasing focus of medical research, was shown in a new large-scale, randomized, controlled trial to significantly reduce the number of dangerous seizures in patients with a severe form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
In the new study comparing two doses of CBD to a placebo, the researchers reported a 41.9 percent reduction in “drop seizures” – a type of seizure that results in severe loss of muscle control and balance – in patients taking a 20 mg/kg/d CBD regimen, a 37.2 percent reduction in those on a 10 mg/kg/d CBD regimen, and a 17.2 percent reduction in a group given a placebo.
The phase III trial was led by principal investigator and study first co-author Orrin Devinsky, MD, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine and director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, and was published online May 17 in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“This new study adds rigorous evidence of cannabidiol’s effectiveness in reducing seizure burden in a severe form of epilepsy and, importantly, is the first study of its kind to offer more information on proper dosing,” says Dr. Devinsky. “These are real medications with real side effects, and as providers we need to know all we can about a potential treatment in order to provide safe and effective care to our patients.”
The study included an investigational liquid, oral formulation of CBD called Epidiolex. The product is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals, which operates in the U.S. as Greenwich Biosciences; GW Pharmaceuticals funded the clinical trial.
Safety of Two CBD Doses Studied
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a rare and severe form of epilepsy characterized by frequent drop seizures and severe cognitive impairment. Six medications are approved to treat seizures in patients with the syndrome, but disabling seizures occur in most patients despite these treatments.
Researchers enrolled 225 patients (age 2 to 55) with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome across 30 international sites in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the efficacy and safety of two doses of CBD: Seventy-six patients received 20 mg/kg/d CBD, 73 received 10 mg/kg/d CBD, and 76 were given a placebo. All medications were divided into two doses per day for 14 weeks. The number of seizures were monitored beginning four weeks prior to the study for baseline assessment, then tracked throughout the 14-week study period and afterwards for a four-week safety check.
Side effects occurred in 94 per of patients in the 20 mg CBD group, 84 percent in the 10 mg CBD group, and 72 percent of those taking placebo. Side effects were generally reported as mild or moderate in severity and those that occurred in more than 10 percent of patients included: sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, upper respiratory infection, fever, vomiting, nasopharyngitis, and status epilepticus. Fourteen patients taking CBD experienced dose-related, elevated liver enzymes that were reversible. Seven participants from the CBD group withdrew from the trial due to side effects compared to one participant in the placebo group.
“This landmark study provides data and evidence that Epidiolex can be an effective and safe treatment for seizures seen in patients with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, a very difficult to control epilepsy syndrome,” adds study co-first author, Anup Patel, MD, chief of Neurology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
A study led by Dr. Devinsky published in last May’s New England Journal of Medicine showed a 39 percent drop in seizure frequency in patients with a different rare form of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome. Those findings represented the first large-scale, randomized clinical trial for the compound. Open label CBD studies led by Dr. Devinsky also have shown positive results for treatment-resistant epilepsies.
In April, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously voted to recommend approval of a new drug application for Epidiolex cannabidiol oral solution, following a meeting where researchers, including Dr. Devinsky, presented their findings. The FDA will decide whether to approve the medication in late June.
“While the news gives hope for a new treatment option to the epilepsy community, more research remains imperative to better determine the effects of CBD and other similar cannabis-derived compounds on other forms of the disease and in more dosing regimens,” says Dr. Devinsky.

12-year-old epilepsy patient sues Jeff Sessions to legalize medical marijuana

Alexis Bortell is suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions so she can legally use medical cannabis in her hometown.
The 12-year-old filed a lawsuit against Sessions over the federal classification of marijuana as an addictive drug with no medical value, reports KDVR.
“As the seizures got worse, we had to move to Colorado to get cannabis because it’s illegal in Texas,” said Bortell, who hasn’t experienced a seizure since using liquid THC drops in over two years.
Bortell’s family uses a strain of cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope, and is just one of many families forced to move to states that have legal medical programs.
“I would like to be able to visit my grandparents without risking being taken to a foster home,” Bortell told KDVR.
The lawsuit also includes another minor, a military veteran, and former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Marvin Washington. The federal government has already lost a motion to dismiss the case.
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12 Rules for Parenting a Child with ADHD / ADD

Never Punish a Child for Behavior Outside His Control

Make ADHD the enemy; not your child. Catch your child being good every day. Stop blaming others. And other rules for raising a child with ADD that every parent should hear.

Most parents are good parents. But if your son or daughter has attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), “good” may not be enough. To ensure that your child is happy and well-adjusted now and in the future — and to create a tranquil home environment — you’ve got to be a great parent.
Fortunately, it’s easier than you might imagine to go from good to great. All it takes is a few small adjustments in your  strategies for parenting a child with ADHD and the way you interact with your child. Here’s what works, and why:

1. Accept the fact that your child — like all children — is imperfect.

It’s not easy to accept that there’s something not quite “normal” about your child. But a child who senses his parents’ resentment — and their pessimism about his prospects — is unlikely to develop the self-esteem and can-do spirit he’ll need in order to become a happy, well-adjusted adult.
“For a child to feel accepted and supported, he needs to feel that his parents have confidence in his abilities,” says Ken Brown-Gratchev, Ph.D., a special education instructor at Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Oregon. “Once parents learn to look at the gifts of ADHD — things like exceptional energy, creativity, and interpersonal skills — they can see the shine inside their child.”
Carol Barnier, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, certainly sees the “shine” in her child with ADHD. “My child is destined for something wonderful, something that would be impossible for those calmer, regular-energy level children,” she says. “I can think of several occupations where boundless energy would be an incredible asset. I’m even jealous of his tireless enthusiasm for life and wonder what more I could accomplish if I were so blessed.”
Do your best to love your child unconditionally. Treat him as if he were already the person you would like him to be. That will help him become that person.

2. Don’t believe all the “bad news” about your child.

It’s no fun to hear school employees describe your child as “slow” or unmotivated. But don’t let negative remarks deter you from doing everything in your power to advocate for his educational needs. After all, kids with ADHD can succeed if they get the help they need.
“While it’s true that your child’s mind works differently, he certainly has the ability to learn and succeed just like any other kid,” says George DuPaul, Ph.D., professor of school psychology at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “Look at it this way—if your child was diabetic or had asthma, would you, for one single minute, hesitate to advocate for his benefit?” Just as a diabetic needs insulin and an asthmatic child needs help breathing, a child with ADHD needs his learning environment regulated.
Sue Greco of Warwick, Rhode Island, is adamant about being her 11-year-old’s strongest advocate. “My son has a great brain,” she says. “He’s a leader, with great ideas, but he’s been labeled ‘unable to succeed’ at the local public school. Because I know he’s capable of more, I’ve enrolled him in a Catholic school, hoping the higher academic expectations and greater structure will challenge him in a positive way.”

3. Don’t overestimate the importance of medication.

There’s no doubt that, for many children with ADHD, the right medication makes a huge difference in behavior. But by no means is medication the only thing that makes a difference, and talking about it as if it were will leave the child feeling that good behavior has little to do with her own efforts. When you catch your child doing something you’ve repeatedly asked her not to do, fight the urge to ask, “Did you forget to take your medication this morning?” And don’t ever threaten to increase her dosage because she did something inappropriate.
“Statements like these give your child the impression that her behavior is controlled solely by external factors,” says Dr. Brown-Gratchev. “It’s a parent’s responsibility to send the clear message that, while medication will improve the skills she already possesses, it won’t magically fix all of her troubles.”
As Sara Bykowski, a mother of two sons with ADHD living in Angola, Indiana, puts it, “I tell my kids that their medicine is like glasses. Glasses improve eyesight that the person already has. My kids know that their self-control, no matter how limited, is the main factor in their behavior management.”

4. Make sure you know the difference between discipline and punishment.

How often have you complained to friends or family members (or even a therapist), “I’ve yelled, lectured, threatened, given time-outs, taken away toys, canceled outings, bribed, begged, and even spanked — and nothing works!” Do you see the problem with this approach? Anychild exposed to such a variety of “sticks” would be confused. And one of the most effective approaches to discipline — the “carrot” of positive feedback — isn’t even mentioned.
“Many parents use the terms ‘discipline’ and ‘punishment’ interchangeably,” says Sal Severe, Ph.D., the author of How to Behave So Your Preschooler Will Too! “In fact, they’re vastly different.” Discipline, he says, is preferable because it teaches the child how to behave. It includes an explanation of the inappropriate behavior and redirection to acceptable behavior — along with positive reinforcement each time the child makes a good behavior choice. Punishment, on the other hand, uses fear and shame to force the child to behave.
Punishment certainly has its place. However, it should never involve physical or verbal abuse, and it should be used only as a last resort. For example, if your child continues to yank the cat’s tail despite being repeatedly told not to — he should be punished.
Often, the best way to discipline a child with ADHD is via a simple program of behavior modification: Define age-appropriate, attainable goals and then systematically reward each small achievement until the behavior becomes routine. By rewarding positive behavior (rather than punishing negative behavior), you help your child feel successful — and further increase his motivation to do the right thing.

5. Never punish a child for behavior that he is unable to control.

Imagine telling your 10-year-old to make his bed. Now imagine finding him, minutes later, lying on his unmade bed playing cards. What should you do? Give him a sharp word and put him in time-out?
According to Dr. Severe, that’s probably not the best approach. In many cases, he says, a child with ADHD fails to comply not because he is defiant, but simply because he becomes distracted from the task at hand (in this case, making the bed). Distractibility is a common symptom of ADHD — something that he may be unable to control. And when you repeatedly punish a child for behavior he can’t control, you set him up to fail. Eventually, his desire to please you evaporates. He thinks, “Why bother?” The parent-child relationship suffers as a result.
The best approach in situations like this might be simply to remindyour child to do what you want him to do. Punishment makes sense if it’s abundantly clear that your child is being defiant — for example, if he refuses to make the bed. But give him the benefit of the doubt.

6. Stop blaming other people for your child’s difficulties.

Are you the kind of parent who finds fault with everyone except your child? Do you say things like “That driver has no control over the kids on the bus,” or “If only the teacher were better at behavior management, my daughter wouldn’t have so much trouble in school?”
Other people can contribute to your child’s problems. But trying to pin the blame exclusively on others encourages your child to take the easy way out. Why should she take personal responsibility for her actions if she can blame someone else (or if she repeatedly hears you blame someone else)?

7. Be careful to separate the deed from the doer.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Don’t believe it. Kids who repeatedly hear bad things about themselves eventually come to believe these things.
No matter how frustrating your child’s behavior, never call him “lazy,” “hyper,” “spacey,” or anything else that might be hurtful. And stop yourself if you start to say something like “You’re such a slob — why can’t you keep your room clean?” or “What’s wrong with you? If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times.. .”
Carol Brady, Ph.D., a child psychologist in Houston, explains it this way: “Parents must make ADHD the enemy — not the child. When you personalize a child’s ADHD-associated problems, her self-esteem plummets. But when you team up with your child to problem-solve various negative behaviors, you create a climate where your child feels loved and supported despite her shortcomings.”
Next time your child’s room is a disaster, tell her, “We have a problem, and I need your help to solve it.” Tell her it’s hard for you to tuck her in at night because you’re afraid you might trip over the toys on her bedroom floor — or that leaving food in her room attracts bugs. Ask for her input. The more involved your child is in the solution, the better the outcome.

8. Don’t be too quick to say “no.”

All children need to be told “no” at certain times — to keep them from doing something dangerous or inappropriate. But many parents say “no” reflexively, without considering whether it might be OK to say “yes.” And a child who hears “no” too many times is apt to rebel — especially if he is impulsive to begin with.
Why are parents so quick to say “no”? Often, it’s out of fear (“No, you cannot walk to school by yourself.”), worry (“No, you can’t sleep over at Jake’s house until I meet his parents.”), a desire to control (“No, you can’t have a snack before supper.”), or a competing need (“Not tonight, kiddo, I’m too tired.”). Smart parents know when to say “no,” and when it makes more sense to take a deep breath and answer in the affirmative.
In many cases, a small change in the way you use the words “yes” and “no” with your child can mean the difference between a pleasant interaction and a nasty confrontation.
Let’s say your child wants to go outside to play but you want him to sit down and do his homework. “Instead of automatically saying no,” suggests Dr. DuPaul, “ask him to help you brainstorm a workable solution.” That way, he feels that he has at least some measure of control over the situation and that you are trying to accommodate his wishes. He will feel less frustrated and be more cooperative.

9. Pay more attention to your child’s positive behavior.

In their quest to quash behavior problems, many parents overlook all the positive ways in which their child behaves. The resulting negativity can cast a pall over the household that affects every aspect of life.
“Retrain yourself to look at the positives,” says Dr. Severe. “Catch your child being good or doing something well, and praise her. When you point out and praise desirable behaviors, you teach her what you want — not what you don’t want.”
Bear in mind that some of the problem behaviors you ascribe to ADHD may be common to all children of that age. It’s helpful to read up on the stages of childhood development — especially if your child with ADHD happens to be your first-born.
Make happiness and laughter the cornerstones of family life. Spend fun time with your children. Go with them on bike rides. Play with them at the park. Visit museums together. Take them to the movies. Sure, life with ADHD can be challenging. But the rewards are great for parents who really connect with their children.

10. Learn to anticipate potentially explosive situations.

Imagine that your daughter has been invited to a party. That’s good news, especially for a child who isn’t very popular with her peers. Now imagine that the party is hosted by a girl with whom your daughter recently quarreled. Do you simply cross your fingers and hope for the best?
“Absolutely not,” warns Dr. DuPaul. “Parents spend a lot of time in reactive mode instead of thinking ahead and planning ahead.” A simple plan, he says, is all it takes to keep a positive experience from turning negative for all concerned.
“In our house, we have ‘the plan,’” says Sara Bykowski. “Before we go into a store or to a friend’s home, we talk about the behavior that is expected and possible pitfalls. We also have a routine for any problems that arise. I might say, ‘Can I talk to you for a minute?’ and then take him away from the group. We discuss what’s happening and try to come up with a solution. Sometimes we still have to leave early, but that happens much less often now.”
Whatever you do, be consistent. “All kids benefit from consistency,” says Dr. DuPaul, “but ADHD kids, in particular, need consistency. It’s not a luxury for them.” A last-minute change in schedule or an interruption of a familiar routine can wreak havoc with a child who already feels like she spends most of her time off-balance and “catching up.” Better to have set routines and plans and do all you can to stick to them.
“Set your home up in a way that encourages organization and responsibility, then run it like an army barracks,” suggests ADHDer Shirley McCurdy, an organizational expert and the author of The Floor Is Not an Option. “Think easy and accessible — clear storage bins for clothes, zippered pouches for homework, and a large, color-coded family calendar.”
Make sure you and your spouse are in agreement on matters of organization and discipline. “Parents who aren’t on the same page in their general approach to motivation and discipline with their child with ADHD can cause problems,” says Stephen Grcevich, M.D., a child psychiatrist in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “Behavioral interventions for kids with ADHD are unlikely to be successful unless applied consistently.”
When parents present a united front, their children know exactly what to expect. Ultimately, the more predictable and consistent your child’s environment becomes, the happier the whole family will be.

11. Be a good role model.

Parents are a child’s most influential role model, so think carefully about your behavior. If you’re unable to control yourself, how can you expect your child to exercise self-control?
“Yelling sets a poor example of how your child should handle his emotions,” says Dr. Brady. “Parents tend to think that, the louder they get, the bigger the impact on the child — but it doesn’t work. The only thing the child hears is the anger. The situation quickly spirals out of control.”
It’s perfectly normal to feel angry at your child from time to time. It’s not OK to continually shout at her. You wouldn’t dream of screaming and swearing at friends or coworkers, so you know you can control your anger if you must.
Next time your child does something that causes your blood to boil, leave the room, take a few deep breaths, or do something else to calm yourself. When you demonstrate self-calming techniques in this way, you teach your child the importance of managing her emotions.
If you do lose your temper, do not hesitate to apologize to your child.

12. Seek help from others.

Some things in life simply cannot be done well alone, and raising a child with ADHD is one of them. “If you take the Clint Eastwood approach, you’ll wind up exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically,” says Dr. Brown-Gratchev. “Build a NASA-worthy support system. That way, when your own ‘system’ overloads or fails, as it inevitably will from time to time, there’s someone to put you back together again.”
Ask your pediatrician for the name of a psychologist or other mental-health professional who specializes in ADHD. Or contact CHADD — chances are, there’s a chapter in your community.
Sue Kordish, of Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, knows the value of a reliable support system. “For years, my husband and I worried that no sitter would understand our son’s special needs,” she says. “We tried hiring a teenager, but it didn’t work out, and the experience left us even more wary. With no family members living nearby, the situation was hard. We just didn’t go out. Then we found a sitter who works with special-needs kids. We were finally able to relax and enjoy some seriously overdue couple time.”

10 Things I Wish My Endocrinologist Would Have Told Me

When I was first diagnosed I consulted with a variety of specialists, I felt that I still didn’t get a good understanding of what’s really going on in Hashimoto’s.
Here are a few things that would have been helpful to know at the beginning of my journey…
10 Things I Wish My Endocrinologist Told Me

Ten Things I Wish My Doctor Would Have Told Me…

  1. You are not going crazy! The anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, and emotional numbness you are feeling could be related to your thyroid. Thyroid antibodies are a marker that lets us know that the immune system is destroying thyroid tissue, which can cause a release of hormones into your bloodstream causing a transient hyperthyroidism and the related mood alterations, followed by an onset of hypothyroidism.
  2. Selenium deficiency has been recognized as an environmental trigger for Hashimoto’s, so you may want to consider using a selenium supplement. A dose of 200 mcg of selenomethioninehas been shown to reduce thyroid antibodies by about 50% over the course of three months in people with Hashimoto’s. In my experience, this can help people feel calmer and can also improve energy levels and hair regrowth.
  3. Going gluten free is a strategy that everyone with Hashimoto’s should try. In some cases, we see a complete remission of the condition; in other cases (88% of the time), the person feels significantly better in terms of bloating, diarrhea, energy, weight, constipation, stomach pain, reflux, hair regrowth, and anxiety.
  4. If you are having symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism—like fatigue, weight gain, sadness/apathy, hair loss, fertility challenges, cold intolerance, brain fog, and joint pain—it may be helpful to start thyroid hormones. Studies have found that starting thyroid hormones can make us feel better and even slow down the progression of the condition!
  5. Some people may not convert thyroid hormones properly, and thus taking a T4-only containing medication like Synthroid or levothyroxine may not relieve all of your symptoms. There may be an advantage to taking a combination T4/T3 medication. Read about which thyroid medication is best.
  6. Your thyroid may function and work on its own again at some time in the future. There is a test we can do to figure out if you can be weaned off from medications. Innovative new therapies like low level laser therapy may also help people improve the function of their thyroid and wean off meds!
  7. Hashimoto’s and iodine deficiency hypothyroidism should be treated differently. Iodine excess may aggravate Hashimoto’s in some cases, leading to anxiety, irritability, brain fog, palpitations, and fatigue, as well as accelerated damage to the thyroid gland. For people with Hashimoto’s, the low doses of iodine that are found in multivitamins and prenatal vitamins (150 mcg–220 mcg) are generally safe.
  8. Thyroid antibodies, thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO antibodies) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TG antibodies), are a marker of how aggressive the attack is on your thyroid gland and can be used as a marker to track your condition. You should retest your antibodies every 3 months to see if your lifestyle interventions are working.
  9. Your hair loss could be caused by low ferritin. Ferritin is a stored form of iron that is often depleted in Hashimoto’s.
  10. Your diet could be helpful in eliminating your thyroid symptoms, reducing thyroid antibodies and some people even have been able to eliminate their thyroid antibodies through diet alone!

Looking Into the Future for a Child With Autism

As my son’s limitations became clearer, I found it harder every year
to write a vision statement for his I.E.P. Then he showed us how.

How Symptoms of ADD Change The Way You Feel and Think

3 Defining Features of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks

The textbook symptoms of ADD — inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity — fail to reflect several of its most powerful characteristics; the ones that shape your perceptions, emotions, and motivation. Here, Dr. William Dodson explains how to recognize and manage ADHD’s true defining features.
The DSM-V – the bible of psychiatric diagnosis – lists 18 diagnostic criteria for attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). Clinicians use this to identify symptoms, insurance companies use it to determine coverage, and researchers use it to determine areas of worthwhile study.
The problem: These criteria only describe how ADHD affects children ages 6-12, and that has led to misdiagnosis, misunderstanding, and failed treatment for teens, adults, and the elderly.
Most people, clinicians included, have only a vague understanding of what ADHD means. They assume it equates to hyperactivity and poor focus, mostly in children. They are wrong.
When we step back and ask, “What does everyone with ADHD have in common, that people without ADHD don’t experience?” a different set of symptoms take shape.
From this perspective, three defining features of ADHD emerge that explain every aspect of the condition:
1. an interest-based nervous system
2. emotional hyperarousal
3. rejection sensitivity
[Self-Test: Could You Have Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria?]

1. Interest-Based ADHD Nervous System

What is an interest-based nervous system?
Despite its name, ADHD doesn’t actually cause a deficit of attention. It actually causes inconsistent attention that is only activated under certain circumstances.
People with ADHD often say they “get in the zone” or “hit a groove.” These are all ways of describing a state of hyperfocus – intense concentration on a particular task, during which the individual feels she can accomplish anything. In fact, she may become so intently focused that the adult with ADD may lose all sense of how much time has passed.
This state is not activated by a teacher’s assignment, or a boss’s request. It is only created by a momentary sense of interest, competition, novelty, or urgency created by a do-or-die deadline.
The ADHD nervous system is interest-based, rather than importance- or priority-based.
[Free Download: 3 Defining Features of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks]

How do I recognize an interest-based ADHD nervous system?

Clinicians often ask, “Can you pay attention?” And the answer is typically, “Sometimes.”
This is the wrong question. Parents, loved ones, and teachers answering it often express frustration because they have seen you hone in on something you enjoy – like video games – for hours, so your inability to conjure that same focus for other tasks and projects is interpreted as defiance or selfishness.
Instead, practitioners should ask, “Have you ever been able to get engaged and stay engaged?” Then, “Once you’re engaged, have you ever found something you couldn’t do?”
Anyone with ADHD will answer along these lines: “I have always been able to do anything I wanted so long as I could get engaged through interest, challenge, novelty, urgency, or passion.”
“I have never been able to make use of the three things that organize and motivate everyone else: importance, rewards, and consequences.”
[The Mystery of ADHD Motivation, Solved]

What can I do to manage an interest-based nervous system?

An effective ADHD management plan needs two parts:

  • medication to level the neurological playing field
  • a new set of rules that teach you how to get engaged on demand

Stimulant medications are very good at keeping people with ADHD from getting distracted once they are engaged, but they do not help you get engaged in the first place.
Most systems for planning and organization are built for neurotypical brains that use importance and time to spark motivation. Instead, you must create your own “owner’s manual” for sparking interest by focusing on how and when you do well, and creating those circumstances at the outset.
This work is highly personal, and will change over time. It can involve strategies like “body-doubling,” or asking another person to sit with you while you do work. Or “injecting interest” by transforming an otherwise boring task through imagination. For example, an anatomy student who is bored with studying can imagine she is learning the anatomy to save her idol’s life.
For more on the interest-based nervous system, read “Secrets of Your ADHD Brain.”

2. ADHD Emotional Hyperarousal

What is emotional hyperarousal?

Most people expect ADHD to create visible hyperactivity. This only occurs in 25% of children and 5% of adults. The rest experience an internal feeling of hyperarousal. When I ask people with ADHD to elaborate on it, they say:

  • “I’m always tense. I can never relax.”
  • “I can’t just sit there and watch a TV program with the rest of the family.”
  • “I can’t turn my brain and body off to go to sleep at night.”

People with ADHD have passionate thoughts and emotions that are more intense than those of the average person. Their highs are higher and their lows are lower. This means you may experience both happiness and criticism more powerfully than your peers and loved ones do.
Children with ADHD know they are “different,” which is rarely experienced as a good thing. They may develop low self-esteem because they realize they fail to get engaged and finish what they start, and because children make no distinction between what you do and who you are. Shame can become a dominant emotion into adulthood as harsh internal dialogues, or criticism from others, becomes ingrained.
[Self-Test: Could You Have Emotional Hyperarousal?]

How do I recognize emotional hyperarousal?

Clinicians are trained to recognize mood disorders, not the increased intensity of moods that comes with ADHD. Many people with ADHD are first misdiagnosed with a mood disorder. On average, an adult will see 2.3 clinicians and go through 6.6 antidepressant trials before being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.
Mood disorders are characterized by moods that have taken on a life of their own, separate from the events of the person’s life, and often last for more than two weeks. Moods created by ADHD are almost always triggered by events and perceptions, and resolve very quickly. They are normal moods in every way except for their intensity.
Clinicians should ask, “When you are upset, do you often ‘get over it’ quickly?” “Do you feel like you can’t rid your brain of a certain thought or idea when you want to?”

What can I do to manage emotional hyperarousal?

To counteract feelings of shame and low self-esteem, people with ADHD need support from other individuals who believe they are a good or worthwhile person. This can be a parent, older sibling, teacher, coach, or even a kind neighbor. Anyone, as long as they think you are good, likeable, and capable – especially when things go wrong. This “cheerleader” must be sincere because people with ADHD are great lie detectors.
A cheerleader’s main message is, “I know you, you’re a good person. If anybody could have overcome these problems by hard work and just sheer ability, it would have been you. So what that tells me is that there’s something we don’t see that’s getting in your way and I want you to know I will be there with you all the way until we figure out what it is and we master that problem.”
The true key to fighting low self-esteem and shame is helping a person with ADHD figure out how to succeed with his unique nervous system. Then, the person with ADHD is not left alone with feelings of shame or blamed for falling short.

3. Rejection Sensitivity

What is rejection sensitivity?

Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is an intense vulnerability to the perception – not necessarily the reality – of being rejected, teased, or criticized by important people in your life. RSD causes extreme emotional pain that may also be triggered by a sense of failure, or falling short – failing to meet either your own high standards or others’ expectations.
It is a primitive reaction that people with ADHD often struggle to describe. They say, “I can’t find the words to tell you what it feels like, but I can hardly stand it.” Often, people experience RSD as physical pain, like they’ve been stabbed or struck right in the center of their chest.
Often, this intense emotional reaction is hidden from other people. People experiencing it don’t want to talk about it because of the shame they feel over their lack of control, or because they don’t want people to know about this intense vulnerability.

How do I recognize rejection sensitivity?

The question that can help identify RSD is, “For your entire life, have you always been much more sensitive than other people you know to rejection, teasing, criticism, or your own perception that you have failed?”
When a person internalizes the emotional response of RSD, it can look like sudden development of a mood disorder. He or she may be saddled with a reputation as a “head case” who needs to be “talked off the ledge.” When the emotional response of RSD is externalized, it can look like a flash of rage. Half of people who are mandated by courts to receive anger-management training had previously unrecognized ADHD.
Some people avoid rejection by becoming people pleasers. Others just opt out altogether, and choose not to try because making any effort is so anxiety-provoking.

What can I do to manage rejection sensitivity?

98-99% of adolescents and adults with ADHD acknowledge experiencing RSD. For 30%, RSD is the most impairing aspect of their ADHD, in part because it does not respond to therapy.
Alpha-agonist medications, like guanfacine and clonidine, can help treat it. Only about one in three people experience relief from either medication, but 60% experience robust benefits when both are tried. When successfully treated, people with RSD report feeling “at peace,” or like they have “emotional armor.” They still see the same things happening that would have previously wounded them, but now it bounces off without injury. They also report that, rather than three or four simultaneous thoughts, they now have just one thought at a time

Woman with ADHD Has Powerful Message for the Mom Who “Drugged” Her

Are you a parent who has struggled with the decision to give your child medication for ADHD?
I am and it’s a hard decision to make. So much of the time, parenting feels like you’re just winging everything. You research. You listen. You ask for advice. You trust your gut, take a deep breath, and hope you’re making good decisions — that your child will be okay.
My daughter took medication for mild ADHD when she was in the fourth and fifth grade. I reached the decision to medicate after talking to doctors and educators, reading, and hoping I was making the right call. No matter how much information we arm ourselves with, when making these difficult decisions for our kids, we always wonder if we’re doing things right, while bracing ourselves for comments from those who tell us we’re doing it wrong.
If ADHD has touched your life in any way, you need to check out the online community How to ADHD. There’s a Facebook page and a YouTube channel that offer a dynamic toolbox containing help on navigating life with ADHD.
The Facebook message posted by actress, writer, and YouTube personality, Jessica McCabe captioned “To My Mom, Who Drugged Me” has been shared more thank 3K times and the video version on YouTube has been viewed nearly 60K times.

The message is spreading like wildfire for one reason: ADHD impacts people. Regular people. Maybe you.
If you’re an adult who has ADHD (or if you think you might), then you need to read this, or watch this (or both). If you are a parent who has chosen to give your child medication for ADHD, you really need to read this, or watch this (or both). From one parent who has been there to another, this perspective from the other side might help you. At the very least, the message and comments will assure you that you’re not in this alone.

When we first read the words “to my mom who drugged me,” we imagine all kinds of terrible things. We simmer down when we see it’s an ADHD page, but then brace ourselves to read criticism from an adult who was medicated for ADHD as a child, expecting a “How could you do this to me!” rant.