maandag 11 maart 2013

ADHD Causes in the Home?

A new study links impulsive behavior in kids to chemicals that may be lurking in your kitchen or on your clothing.

By Emily Main

common house hold chemicals linked to ADHDData just released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that rates of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continue to rise, jumping from 6.7 percent of U.S. children in 2000 to 9 percent of U.S. children in 2009.

As doctors and scientists try to uncover the causes of ADHD, attention is turning to all the chemicals children and pregnant moms encounter in their daily lives. "Certainly there's a genetic component to the disorder," says Brooks Gump, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor in the department of public health, food studies, and nutrition at Syracuse University, noting that roughly 50 percent of cases are genetic. "But there are environmental factors involved, as well."

The disorder has already been linked to pesticides found in chemically grown food, and now Gump has shown in a new study that one of the chemical causes of ADHD might be perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), a class of highly toxic chemicals used to make stain- and water-repellent fabrics and nonstick cookware that linger in the environment for very long periods of time, building up in the blood of animals that enter the food chain and, ultimately, in people.

There have been a few observational studies finding associations between a diagnosis of ADHD and high PFC levels in blood. But Gump's new study, published recently in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, shows real-world situations in which children with high PFC levels exhibited characteristics of the disorder, mainly impulsive behavior.

THE DETAILS: Eighty-three children between the ages of 9 and 11 took part in the study. Blood samples were taken and measured for the presence of 11 different PFCs, including PFOA, used to manufacture Teflon and other nonstick finishes, and PFBS, a chemical made by 3M to replace the toxic PFOS, which was found to cause liver damage and increase chances of infant mortality before 3M phased it out 10 years ago. Then the children took a 20-minute computer test designed to detect something called impaired response inhibition, or impulsive behavior, a primary characteristic of children with ADHD. "What it translates into are risky behaviors that ultimately may translate into things like drug use," says Gump. Children who are too impulsive have also been found to have lower IQs, he adds, and can have difficulty stopping certain behaviors when asked. "For whatever reason, impulsivity is a cognitive process that's particularly sensitive to toxicants."

During the computer game, the children were told they could win 25 cents if they could wait 20 seconds before hitting the space bar, with the potential to win $15 upon completion of the game; responses made sooner than 20 seconds indicated a child with high impulsivity. The authors found that the higher a child's PFC blood level, the shorter his or her response time was, and those children's response times got shorter and shorter as the 20-minute game wore on. The strongest association between the chemicals and impulsive behavior was seen in children with high levels of PFHxS, a PFC that was also made by 3M (and also phased out 10 years ago) that was widely used in carpet treatments and in some forms of food packaging. It was detected at some level in all the children participating in the study, as were PFOA and PFOS.

We're just beginning to understand the sometimes-subtle effects of these ever-present chemicals. "PFCs are so prevalent," Gump says. "There's so little research about what the effects of these are on cognitive function, yet everyone has them in their blood." And he adds that the levels of PFCs found in the children in his study are not unusual, based on blood tests conducted on the general public by the CDC. Because these chemicals are so ubiquitous, he wasn't able to determine whether children were being affected by PFCs in their current environment or had been exposed to high levels prenatally. Prenatal exposure, he writes in his study, might explain why these children, born in the late 1990s, when PFC use peaked, are more likely to show signs of ADHD.

A 2008 study has shown that, as with many of the other persistent chemicals that build up in our environment (such as pesticides), contaminated food and water are our primary exposure sources for PFCs. The next-highest source is spray-on water- and stain-repelling clothing treatments and carpet treatments, such as Scotchgard. Third in that list is food packaging: Microwave popcorn, fast-food wrappers, butter wrappers, and pizza boxes may contain PFC-based coatings to prevent grease from soaking through the paper, giving you one more reason not to eat fast food!

Here are a few more ways to avoid exposure to PFCs:
• Eat super-green fish. Researchers are just beginning to understand where the PFCs in our food come from, but it's widely accepted that contaminated fish are a big source of exposure. Choose healthy fish that have low levels of all contaminants to avoid exposure to these unhealthy chemicals.

• Learn to cope with stains. Carpet treatments and after-market stain repellents that we spray on our clothes and furniture could lead to hyperactive kids, as well as moms and dads with thyroid problems. Follow our tips for cleaning clothing and removing carpet stains without resorting to toxic stain-repellent sprays. Also, consult Rodale's Nontoxic Back-to-School Shopping Guide e-book for ideas on outfitting children with rain gear and umbrellas that aren't coated in PFC-based water-repellent coatings.

• Choose healthy cookware. Nonstick pans aren't thought to be a major source of PFC exposure when new, but as the cookware ages and the coatings start to wear off, you might wind up adding PFCs to your dinner without realizing it. Choose healthy cookware that's free of nonstick coatings when replacing your old pots and pans; you might even find it functions better in the kitchen.

vrijdag 8 februari 2013

Save Your Son from the Violent Boy Culture

Increased violence by young males is spinning out of control, especially in the U.S. Since the 1999 Columbine shooting, there have been 31 school shootings. Violence and violent images permeate our society. Boys are constantly bombarded with the false information that real boys must always be strong, aggressive, tough, in control, and repress their feelings. Boys are continually saturated with this distorted version of manhood from television and movies, video games, the Internet, peers, coaches, and other adults.
In the last 15 years the violent video games and movies children have been exposed to have become more graphic than ever. And now the ubiquitous Internet allows our boys to be brainwashed constantly with horrific, savage images of what a man is supposed to be like. One study showed that children in America between the ages of 5 and 18 have watched 20,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on television. And violent media does spur real-life aggression. Research has consistently shown that after watching violent movies, children interact in an aggressive manner, while after watching movies about kindness, children treat one another with gentleness and compassion.

Why Boys Act Aggressively

Most boys are taught from an early age to act tough and repress their emotions. It’s important to understand that violent male behavior may stem from the perpetrator’s fear that he isn’t behaving aggressively enough and may be thought of as feminine. However, the behavior that is associated with girls (actions that demonstrate empathy, sensitivity, and compassion) are also natural male traits— they are simply not recognized as such in many societies. Boys need to be taught that sensitivity and compassion are natural male traits.

What Can Parents, Teachers, and Mentors Do?

Mom Can Help Her Son Become Compassionate

Never tolerate anyone shaming your son when he expresses gentle, compassionate behavior. Help your son understand the causes for society’s negativity toward gentleness in males and talk with your son about all of the positive aspects of being a compassionate boy.

Your Son and Violence

Monitor your son’s exposure to violence as much as possible and provide nonviolent games and activities. Encourage your son to hang out with friends who enjoy less-violent games. Frequently discuss the harmful effects that exposure to violence can have on him. Create safety for your son when he engages in potentially dangerous activities, i.e. establish rules for fair fighting.

Ways to Increase Your Son’s Empathy

Taking care of a pet not only teaches a boy responsibility, but through cuddling a kitten, for example, he will learn about the sanctity of all life. Caring for a pet will make him less likely to mistreat an animal. Have your son interact with people of different faiths, nationalities, and races, to learn the commonality of humanity. Expose your son to the arts. Increase your son’s respect for Mother Nature by visiting an orchard, or nursery, spending time at a lake, river, or the ocean, or gardening.

Dad Raising an Empathic Boy

Talk often with your boy about what it really means to be a man. Reassure him that he doesn’t need the approval of aggressive boys, star athletes, or the alpha male to feel good about himself. Let your son know that it’s okay for him to express fear and sadness and ask for help. Discuss with your son the detrimental consequences of violent males being so frequently extolled in the media. Read books or watch movies with your son about the lives of great spiritual men, i.e. Jesus, St. Francis, Moses, the Buddha, and discuss how they have created peace on Earth through righteous behavior.

Help Your Son Navigate the Cruel Boy Culture

Make sure you always defend your boy if others shame him when he expresses his feelings. Teach your son how to respond to aggressive children by role-playing with him. Model setting limits with others so that your son will learn how to set boundaries with violent peers. Let your son know that it’s okay to set personal boundaries with others rather than going along with peer pressure.

Father-Son Activities

To increase your son’s compassionate nature, it would be good sometimes to do activities with your son that help people, animals, and the environment, such as planting trees or cleaning up trash in your community. Volunteer to help out in a hospital, nursing home, or animal shelter. If you have carpentry skills, you and your son could help a neighbor, friend, or relative fix up their house or your own house.

Teachers Creating a Boy-Friendly Classroom

Since boys learn differently from girls, encourage your son’s teacher to incorporate more movement during instruction and take physical breaks between subjects, incorporating active learning games and more outdoor learning. Creating goals and using games will create motivation. Assemble a team of at least three parents of boys to meet with your son’s teacher and/or principal (or your PTA) to discuss how to make your son’s class more boy- friendly.

Learning Compassion in the Classroom

Encourage your son’s teacher to create a class constitution with the help of the students, detailing how they should treat one another, and ask the teacher and students to sign it. Suggest that your son’s teacher give rewards to students for kindness and good sportsmanship. Ask your son’s teachers to read and discuss exciting tales that promote noble and brave qualities of heroes who help others. You and your son’s teacher should let him know that everyone has different abilities and interests and that those differences need to be respected.

Dealing with Bullying

Ask your son’s principal to institute a school-wide no-bullying policy and have all the teachers trained in a bullying-prevention program. Have your son tell a teacher, principal, or lunchroom personnel who can help to stop the abuse. Encourage your son to enlist the help of a friend or a group that can help him to stand up to bullies. Let your son know that bullies feel worthless and the only way they can feel important is by hurting others.

Create a New, Nonviolent World

Once the younger generation learns that love and compassion for all living beings is the most important value every person must imbibe, there will be a veritable leap in consciousness on the planet. Wars and conflicts will become a thing of the past, because wars begin in the minds of people, and there is no room for human or environmental destruction in the political or corporate leader with a consciousness saturated with love and compassion for all human beings and Mother Earth.
Ted Zeff, Ph.D. is the author of Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy: Save Your Son from the Violent Boy Culture. For more information please visit the Z-Shop or

woensdag 30 januari 2013

Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy: Save Your Son from the Violent Boy Culture.

Introducing a new book by Ted Zeff, Ph.D.: Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy: Save Your Son from the Violent Boy Culture. The book contains hundreds of practical methods to help parents raise their son to express his emotions and develop compassionate behavior, as well as specific strategies to help boys navigate through the violent boy culture. The book is available on amazon:
at Barnes & Noble or by visiting

Are you concerned that your son is constantly bombarded with false information that real boys must always be strong, aggressive, tough, and repress their feelings? What can parents do when their son is exposed to graphic, violent images of what a man is supposed to be like? How can parents help their son grow into an emotionally healthy, compassionate man when he is continually saturated with this distorted version of manhood from television, computer games, the Internet, movies, peers, coaches, and other adults?

In this groundbreaking book, psychologist Ted Zeff provides parents, educators, and mentors with many original and proven methods that will help boys grow into compassionate and emotionally healthy men who can transcend violent male behavior. Dr. Zeff offers practical advice that will help boys express their feelings, exhibit empathy, and increase their self-esteem in the family, at school, with friends, and in sports.

“Proven techniques to help parents raise their son to express his emotions and develop compassionate behavior, and specific strategies that will help boys to navigate through the violent boy culture.”
-Michael Gurian, author of The Wonder of Boys

Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy” is a boon for our entire planet. The book provides many original, practical ideas for parents and teachers to help boys grow into compassionate and emotionally healthy men who can transcend male violent behavior. Give a copy to everyone you know who is helping to raise a boy.”
-Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of The Highly Sensitive Child

“I met Ted Zeff when we both worked with youth in San Francisco 30 years ago. He was a great counselor then and now he is even a greater counselor and writer. His insights into raising young men are what is needed now. Trust me, I have been all over the United States making documentaries for PBS on reducing violence in schools. I implore you to listen to his excellent suggestions to raise compassionate, non-violent boys. He's right on.”
-Mike Pritchard, Host of PBS Documentary Save Our Schools from Hate and Violence and Stepping on Up

“Ted Zeff has provided everyone who cares about kids with an excellent road map to get us closer to a society where our boys become more fully human, more emotionally intelligent. That would mean a world of men better able to protect the planet and the next generation from the kind of emotionally disconnected aggression that threatens us all.”
-James Garbarino, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago, and author of Lost Boys

Thank you for your interest.

Ted Zeff, Ph.D.