Attention-deficit disorders and other learning disabilities are the most common
neuro-developmental problems in young children. ADD and its variations are
estimated to affect between three percent and 10% of all children. Their lack of
concentration and motor skills make it very difficult for the children – who
have natural talents – to function, and they disrupt their classes, making it
difficult for teachers in school and in kindergarten.
US studies have
shown that 20% of such children were involved in setting fires, 30% in stealing
and 25% were ejected from their schools due to their behavior. They are also
more likely to smoke and drink alcohol and four times more likely than non-ADD
youth to be involved in road accidents.
Experts believe there is a
genetic basis for the disorder, which explains why it often passes from one
generation to another. But in the past decade, there has been a breakthrough
that found the disorder also involves a defect in activity of the brain’s
pre-frontal cortex, cerebellum and other areas. The latest imaging techniques
were responsible for this advance. Thus it is believed that while genetics are
involved, ADD and its variations are largely caused by defects in the
functioning of neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and
Because everything in the brain is intertwined, affected
children also tend to have mood and behavioral problems depending on their age.
Many also develop low self-esteem, sub-par educational accomplishments and social
and behavioral problems.
However, treatment can help, especially if the
problem is diagnosed at an early stage. First, a comprehensive neurological
examination is needed, followed by EEG, imaging, metabolic tests and continuous
performance tests. Questionnaires and didactic and psychological tests are also
used to make the diagnosis. Multidisciplinary treatment may include a
combination of didactic and psychological means as well as medication,
determined according the problems of each child.
Until now, because of
the lack of facilities, parents have had to wait six to nine months to get the
initial diagnosis at health fund clinics or have paid private experts high
Now there is a one-stop-shop address for ADD children and their
parents. A neurocognitive center for such children has opened at Hadassah
University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus. Dr. Itai Berger, a senior
pediatric neurologist with much experience and research in the field, is its
director. Even very young children undergo testing, with the whole process
completed in weeks rather than months, and they can proceed to treatment, with
the home environment and the school integrated in the process.
says that if the center succeeds, it will be a model for setting up similar
centers in other parts of the country.
The health funds participate in
the costs of diagnosis at the center, and families that receive assistance from
the welfare authorities are eligible for additional financial
CLINICAL PHARMACY GRADS
The first 15 graduates of a new
doctoral program in clinical pharmacy – the first of its kind in the country –
recently received their doctor of pharmacy degrees from the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem. The PharmD is the equivalent in pharmacy of a doctor of medicine
degree. The new program was initiated three years ago with enrollment of the
first students; it replaced the former master’s program in clinical
Clinical pharmacy incorporates aspects of pharmacology,
toxicology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacotherapy and finds its expression within
the framework of patient care. The clinical pharmacist is responsible for
identifying problems connected with patients’ medications, finding solutions to
those problems and trying to prevent them.
The new graduates will work
alongside medical doctors in hospitals and health clinics.
shown that the use of unsuitable medicines is the fifth highest source of
mortality in the US,” said program head Prof. Amnon Hoffman. “More people die
from medical errors than from road accidents, breast cancer or AIDS. More
involvement of pharmacists in guiding patients toward correct, responsible and
cautious use of medicines can prevent this phenomenon in many cases. Our new
graduates of this program are expected to make a great contribution to the
health of patients, and they will serve as ground-breakers for those who come
FLOORED BY BACTERIA
Maybe those pedantic people who use
alcohol rub all the time are right. Just being in a room can add some 37 million
bacteria to the air every hour – material largely left behind by previous
occupants and stirred up from the floor, according to new research by Yale
“We live in this microbial soup, and a big
ingredient is our own microorganisms,” said environmental engineering Prof.
Jordan Peccia, the principal investigator of a study recently published online
in the journal Indoor Air.
“Mostly people are re-suspending what’s been
deposited before. The floor dust turns out to be the major source of the
bacteria that we breathe.”
Many previous studies have surveyed the
variety of germs present in everyday spaces. But this is the first study that
quantifies how much a lone human presence affects the level of indoor biological
aerosols. Peccia and his research team measured and analyzed biological
particles in a single, ground-floor university classroom over a period of eight
days – four days when the room was periodically occupied and four when the room
was continuously vacant. At all times the windows and doors were kept
Researchers sorted the particles by size.
found that “human occupancy was associated with substantially increased airborne
concentrations” of bacteria and fungi of various sizes. Occupancy resulted in
especially large spikes for larger-sized fungal particles and medium-sized
bacterial particles. The size of bacteria-and fungi-bearing particles is
important, because size affects the degree to which they are likely to be
filtered from the air or linger and recirculate, the researchers
The researchers found that about 18% of all bacterial emissions in
the room – including both fresh and previously deposited bacteria – came from
humans, as opposed to plants and other sources.
Of the 15 most abundant
varieties of bacteria identified in the room studied, four are directly
associated with humans, including the most abundant, Propionibacterineae, common
on human skin. Peccia said carpeted rooms appear to retain especially high
amounts of microorganisms, but noted that this does not necessarily mean rugs
and carpets should be removed. Extremely few of the microorganisms commonly
found indoors are infectious, he said. Still, understanding the content and
dynamics of indoor biological aerosols is helpful for devising new ways of
improving air quality when necessary, he said.
“All those infectious
diseases we get, we get indoors,” he concluded.