Researcher: Hyperactive movements help ADHD children learn

Researcher: Hyperactive movements help ADHD children learn

A common symptom found in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - and one long believed to be a main hindrance to a child's development - actually could be a learning trigger. 

In a study published April 12 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, researcher Dr. Dustin Sarver and colleagues discovered the hyperactive movements associated with the disorder may allow children with ADHD to enhance their cognitive abilities. 

Sarver, who studied the issue while completing his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Central Florida, now works at the Center for Advancement of Youth (CAY) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The findings he helped unearth are ones he said could have an impact on how children with ADHD are taught in classrooms here in Mississippi and the treatments they receive - two of the main goals of the CAY. 

"Previous research with my mentor and our colleagues shows that when kids with ADHD are given very demanding cognitive tasks involving working memory, they become more hyperactive. But when we don't put demands on their working memory, they're no more active than kids without ADHD," said Sarver, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UMMC. 

"This new research asked the next question — does that movement help or hurt their working memory?" 

Working memory, unlike the more commonly known short-term memory, is a higher-level executive function employed when a person must manipulate and process information to arrive at a conclusion, explained Sarver. Working memory is critical for completing complex tasks and learning. 

"If I gave you my telephone number, you would use short-term memory to recall it," he said. "If I had you rearrange those same numbers in order, then you're using working memory." 

Those were the kinds of tasks children in the UCF study were asked to complete, while researchers observed their movements using high-speed video, he said. For the majority of kids with ADHD, the more they moved the better their working memory performance. In contrast, children without ADHD typically did worse when they moved more. 

By allowing the hyperactive behaviors to continue, children with ADHD are able to increase their arousal and remain alert in the classroom. Yet conventional teaching and treatment methods demand ADHD children remain still, and the ability to focus on the lesson is lost in the child's struggle to focus on not squirming or fidgeting, said Sarver.

"This movement has a positive purpose," said Sarver. "As long as they are engaged and not disrupting others, we facilitate it, because it helps maintain alertness. The moment we stop them from moving, I find that they concentrate more on stopping their movement instead of using their cognitive abilities to pay attention for learning."

Continue Reading...

To care for whole patient, look at whole picture

It's not unusual - sometimes, the norm - for a patient's medical problem to be caused by factors that are entirely non-medical. 

A person's asthma, for example, could be triggered by animal dander, mold, cockroaches, dust mites or other airborne allergens at his home. A child could suffer a deep, jagged cut because she played in a dangerous area, because she had no safe parks, because her parents couldn't afford to live in a better neighborhood. 

A new program to be offered at the Jackson Medical Mall through the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities will connect families and individuals to community resources that will help them address root environmental factors that are affecting their health. Set to open this fall, it's called EversCare, named after Evers-Williams for her concern that those in need get help. 

"We recently conducted the RICE Bowl, and Dr. Evers-Williams was in the audience," said Dr. Bettina Beech, UMMC's associate vice chancellor of population health and professor of family medicine and pediatrics. The Rural Interdisciplinary Case Experience (RICE) Bowl is an interdisciplinary health-care competition in which UMMC students from academic disciplines ranging from law to social work collaborate in teams to address complex rural health issues.

Continue Reading...
To care for whole patient, look at whole picture

Batson Children’s Hospital patient surprised by former Ole Miss quarterback

Batson Children’s Hospital patient surprised by former Ole Miss quarterback

Batson Children's Hospital patient Jacob Partlow just caught a pass that traveled more than 300 miles to land in his hands.

The pass was thrown after Jeanne Stanford, manager of Fred's Super Dollar in Pulaski, Tenn., watched a video of Jacob's battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in preparation for her store's annual Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) fundraising campaign.

In the video, 14-year-old Jacob mentions being a big fan of Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, who is a Pulaski native. Stanford asked Wallace's parents, whom she sees regularly, for a signed football to send to Jacob. But when Wallace discovered the circumstances, he wanted to do more and arranged to present the football in person.

Friday at Fred's Super Dollar in Canton, a surprised and speechless Jacob received the football from his hero.

"I'm trying not to faint," Jacob joked.

Jacob's mother, Olevia Williams, kept the whole thing a secret from Jacob. She told her son that he would be receiving an autographed football from Wallace, but she didn't tell him that he'd also get to meet him.

 "This is pretty special for me," Jacob said, admiring his new football, which he called his most-prized possession.

Continue Reading...

Honors Days, Guyton Lecture highlight events

A number of interesting events is scheduled for the upcoming week at the Medical Center.

 

Continue Reading...
Honors Days, Guyton Lecture highlight events
Campus News
Calendar
New Faculty
New Faculty
Campus Menus
Bulletin Board
Archives
Submit Items
UMMC
Bulletin Board