View Full Version : ADHD rate in Saudi Arabia


Kunga Dorji
10-05-11, 05:04 AM
http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article509346.ece

The quoted figure is 15%- 3 times the global average.
Interesting.

selita
10-05-11, 11:20 AM
I've read this is probably due to the extreme levels of lead in the environment from leaded gasoline.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0160412087901899

The level of lead in areas that only use unleaded gas have been declining for decades.

Kunga Dorji
10-05-11, 03:30 PM
I've read this is probably due to the extreme levels of lead in the environment from leaded gasoline.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0160412087901899

The level of lead in areas that only use unleaded gas have been declining for decades.

Given the population, and the fact that 1/2 the population is not allowed to drive- I would doubt that there would be enough "high traffic" locations in Saudi Arabia to produce such an extreme result.

Equally- there was less ADD around when us Western countries all used lead containing petrol.

I think it remains extremely difficult to take the possibility of causal cultural factors off the table.

Kunga Dorji
10-05-11, 03:33 PM
Anyhow- I am pleased that the comment I made under my real name made it into the letters section (number 6 on the list)
Given the concerns I raised, and the nature of Saudi society I thought that one had zero chance of getting past the censors. It is nice to be proven wrong on such an issue.

Abi
10-05-11, 04:10 PM
Evidently, the Arabs have a greater ethnic genetic predisposition to ADHD than Caucasians.
Of course, you people will blame it on fumes from the oil wells or something *sigh*

I remember Nifferka, who'se living in one of those FSU Caucasus Republics in the near east once commenting that "the whole population seems ADHD"

K-Funk
10-05-11, 04:26 PM
"you people"? :confused:

Evidently, the Arabs have a greater ethnic genetic predisposition to ADHD than Caucasians.
Of course, you people will blame it on fumes from the oil wells or something *sigh*

I remember Nifferka, who'se living in one of those FSU Caucasus Republics in the near east once commenting that "the whole population seems ADHD"

Abi
10-05-11, 04:34 PM
K-Funk,

Barliman and his followers.

selita
10-05-11, 05:24 PM
Given the population, and the fact that 1/2 the population is not allowed to drive- I would doubt that there would be enough "high traffic" locations in Saudi Arabia to produce such an extreme result.

Equally- there was less ADD around when us Western countries all used lead containing petrol.

I think it remains extremely difficult to take the possibility of causal cultural factors off the table.

I wouldn't take cultural or even genetic factors out of the equation entirely, but the lead levels are very high. In some areas iron and vitamin deficiency are thought to be major contributors to high rates of ADHD and intellectual disability as well.

http://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/78(9)1068.pdf

I don't really know much about the topic of environmental pollution and ADHD, but everything I've read suggests that it's only increases in awareness that are increasing rates of diagnosis.

Saudi Arabia has several large cities with over 1 million people... the largest has 6.5 million. Even if most people don't drive, that's plenty to have bad air pollution.

Child abuse is also very common. So is inbreeding and genetic disease. It's a bit of an ADHD-causal-factor stew.

Unmanagable
10-05-11, 09:18 PM
K-Funk,

Barliman and his followers.


lol........too funny.......does that mean we're like groupies or something? :rolleyes:

Kunga Dorji
10-06-11, 02:20 AM
I wouldn't take cultural or even genetic factors out of the equation entirely, but the lead levels are very high. In some areas iron and vitamin deficiency are thought to be major contributors to high rates of ADHD and intellectual disability as well.

http://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/78(9)1068.pdf (http://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/78%289%291068.pdf)

I don't really know much about the topic of environmental pollution and ADHD, but everything I've read suggests that it's only increases in awareness that are increasing rates of diagnosis.

Saudi Arabia has several large cities with over 1 million people... the largest has 6.5 million. Even if most people don't drive, that's plenty to have bad air pollution.

Child abuse is also very common. So is inbreeding and genetic disease. It's a bit of an ADHD-causal-factor stew.

The 6.5million one could be a bit of a worry.
When lead pollution was a big issue in Melbourne (now 25 years ago),
the pollution was quite focal- there were a couple of suburbs that were an issue in particular- depending on local traffic, and an atmospheric vortex that on some occasions would trap and concentrate pollution over a couple of suburbs.

I'm sure lead is a factor going on there, however for lead to be the sole explanation the lead levels would have to be very widely distributed in the society.

I would be looking closely at the child abuse issue. Saudi discipline is notoriously harsh- and you only have to look at the penal system for confirmation there.

So many of us ADDers have childhood histories of major trauma (mine mostly related to being the butt end of severe bullying at school for many years), and there is no doubt that that sort of thing disrupts one's ability to develop good self regulation.

Once again- I would point to the Science of Success article, which supports the idea that the ADHD variant of DRD4 is the gene for emotional sensitivity.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/12/the-science-of-success/7761/

This is where the "sensitivity issue" intersects with the brutal discipline issue. A sensitive child is much more likely to be traumatised by brutal discipline than a more emotionally "obtuse" child.

However- the Saudi society will see their discipline style as a cultural non negotiable- and they will not even be able to see outside the prison of their own preconceptions to consider that it might be actually causing harm.

The issue of conceptual prisons applies just as much to your observation that everything you have read suggests that it is only increasing rates of awareness that can explain the increasing rate of diagnosis.

We live in a culture where we are operating under the a priori assumption that mental illness is explained by genetic factors- so other explanations are unthinkable.
(I have dealt at length with the many gaping logical holes in this assumption and will not bore everyone including myself by repeating that material here.)

However- because the ascendancy of the genetic model is so great, suggestions of non genetic causality is marginalised and ridiculed.
So- the casual observer- which includes most members of the public- will only see the barrage of material that says the increased incidence is an effect of increased diagnostic accuracy.

I wish I could remember where I read this ( I should have bookmarked it)- but I read an analysis quite recently suggesting that only 25% of the increase in autism diagnosis could be attributed to improved diagnosis.

Again- William James' classic comment wraps up the debate on this point
"For the moment, what we attend to becomes our reality". There is plenty of funding for genetic research, so the field is dominated by people whose intellectual preoccupations revolve around genetics.