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New study gives insight into how stimulant treatments work for ADHD



Stimulants are an effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In the classroom, parents and teachers say medications such as methylphenidate (MPH) can reduce symptoms and improve behavior.

Although stimulants have been used for decades to treat ADHD in school-age children, it has not been clear. But the results of a new study in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry fills critical gaps about the role of improved cognitive functions.

"This is the first study to show that improving short-term working memory and the ability to inhibit are at least part of the way stimulants work and improve the outcomes of ADHD in the classroom," says Larry Hawk, a professor at the Department of Psychology of the UB and senior author of the article.

Knowing how front-line treatments such as MPH can help develop better pharmacological and behavioral treatments that target specific mechanisms and processes or contribute to the development of equally effective pharmacotherapies with fewer side effects than currently used.

"It is estimated that it takes 1

5 to 20 years from animal research to a licensed drug with costs of about 500 to 2 billion dollars," says Hawk. "Knowing how a treatment works gives us clues as to what we should achieve in developing new treatments, which can save a lot of time, energy and money."

Hawk says researchers often have a good hypothesis to explain the effectiveness of certain medications. but for many treatments their functioning remains a mystery.

In the case of the stimulant treatment of ADHD, improved classroom behavior and completion of sitting work are well-documented clinical benefits. There is also evidence that stimulants improve a variety of cognitive processes, including working memory (holding and manipulating information in your head), the ability to inhibit (such as remembering to raise your hand instead of shouting an answer), and sustained attention (for many school-age children with ADHD, Hawk's main problem areas remain.)

These separate evidence from clinical and laboratory research suggests that MPH is undergoing these basic cognitive processes.19659003] "But you really have not proven, "says Hawk," It's just an association pattern. "

To further test the idea, researchers combined the clinical and laboratory worlds to simultaneously study basic cognitive and clinical outcomes in the same children – in small groups Over the three summers, the 82 children in the study aged 9 to 12 years completed one egg n one-week summer program. The children completed a range of activities, including sports and games, arts and crafts, three math lessons and computer-aided assessments of their cognitive abilities.

Each day, each child received either a placebo or a low or medium dose of stimulant. Researchers examined the extent to which children's response to cognitive tasks is due to how much the drugs have improved their class behavior and the number of mathematical problems they have solved.

"The results show that stimulants such as methylphenidate improve class behavior. Englisch: bio-pro.de/en/region/stern/magazine/…1/index.html to hold and manipulate (for example, to remember things in reverse order) and the more children "spontaneously" inhibit reactions, the greater the benefit These data are the strongest so far to point out that these are the mechanisms through which the drug works, "says Hawk.

Hawk points out that this work could guide the search for novel drugs. He also notes that some of the best ways to improve cognitive functioning are not likely to be medications

"Behavioral treatment and parenting can indirectly enhance these cognitive processes," he says. "Both can be used to reinforce executive function – and behavior – through systematic and incremental reinforcement of ever-increasing self-restraint – whether or these treatments work, or whether they would work even better if they were direct Working memory and inhibition remains to be seen. "

Hawk says he would like to extend this type of work to the real classroom or even outside the school with homework and peer interaction.

"This is one of two research I'm most proud of in my career," says Hawk. "It takes a lot to get a foothold in both the clinical and scientific worlds, but if we bring them together like our team, we can really go new ways."

"I hope that we and others will now can to take the next steps and turn these novel results into even more practical results for families.

Source:

http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2018/07/023.html [19659021] //
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