View Full Version : ADHD: The Edison Gene


snjyds
04-29-17, 01:10 AM
I read the book, The Edison gene: ADHD and the gift of the hunter child by Tom Hartmann that ADHD is an ancient beneficial trait in humans at a time when we were a hunter-gatherer society.
We, with ADHD are the hunter kind.
Procrastination: Hunters generally procrastinate and are not good at gathering food on a daily basis. However, once in a while, we get going.
Hyperfocus: Hyperfocus helps the moment we attack prey.
Inattentiveness: We are constantly scanning the environment and small disturbances which others may fail to notice, draws our attention. It helps in identifying hiding predators, etc. during the hunt.

userguide
07-25-17, 12:57 PM
Does the book promise any modern-day advantage ?

Or we need to wait for a post nuclear war world to thrive again ?

finallyfound10
07-25-17, 04:40 PM
Does the book promise any modern-day advantage ?

Or we need to wait for a post nuclear war world to thrive again ?

LOL!! It's good to know that I would've thrived in ancient times!! That makes perfect sense why I am not doing so great now.

Kunga Dorji
11-19-17, 06:59 PM
Does the book promise any modern-day advantage ?

Or we need to wait for a post nuclear war world to thrive again ?

Hartmann is an extraordinarily creative and public spirited man. He and his son both have ADHD. He runs a number of residential charities for homeless children across the world.

In his writings Thom Hartmann was trying to find a way of looking at the problem that would boost our self esteem. He was primarily a hypnotherapist and his real goal was to create a narrative that would help us to stop beating up on ourselves and to look for good sides to the way we are.

The reason is simple- the worse we feel about ourselves the worse we function- so no matter what the deficits are we are still probably well better off than a double amputee- but so many people like that do amazing things.

He suggested in the prologue that he had met some Indian businessmen of a train in India, and that in India we are regarded as holy men, nearly enlightened. That we are purifying the last bad karma and that often we cant form relationships because we have quite specific needs in a partner- so that inability is protective.

Even I was inclined to scoff at that, but I thought:

1) We have terrible attention, and poor emotional regulation, and bear the consequences for those. However ADHD people i know are generally kind and well meaning- despite blowing their fuse.

2) Really- emotional regulation is a platform necessary for good attentional control and in meditation we treat them as being one in the same. So maybe there is only that one thing that we need to do, (learn to pay attention to cause and effect- at a really subtle.

The old souls idea could work.

However it is really important to realise that Hartmann is first and foremost a hypnotherapist and an extremely skilled one.
The Edison gene is a bit more argumentative- and talks more about genes- but that was back in the day when ADHD was seen as predominantly genetic.

His book "Healing ADD" is even better. Really clever stuff.

However, if you go in seeking to test or refute each point you won't get the best out of it.

As a matter of fact our clumsiness and oculomotor control issues would have made us shocking hunters and those are issues in almost every ADDer (I am writing something much more substantial on that but it will take time to get it right).

The clumsiness issue is important because "thinking is the internalisation of movement" and coordination problems do bleed over in to cognitve issues. Hence the term psychomotor retardation.

IN truth the eye coordination issues that cause so much trouble with reading are much less out of doors when looking at a distant horizon or through shrubbery. Hunter gather kids get to play WAYYYYY more than we did- and that helps build coordination and thinking skills.

However the Edison Gene is to some extent a metaphor.

The only other point I would make is that the functional neurologist Robert Mellilo comments that ADHD kids often have right brain underdevelopment and super- over developed left brains as a compensation- and that many are genius level- but its not genetic. Mellilo has treated tens of thousands of kids with ADHD and suchlike.



See this podcast:
https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/functional-neurology-minute-podcast/id1227622512?mt=2&i=1000392670823

No 9

Lunacie
11-19-17, 07:28 PM
How do we really know whether anyone born prior to about 1980 had ADHD?
It's an interesting assumption, but I'm not convinced the basis can actually be
proven.

WhiteOwl
11-21-17, 04:04 PM
Didn't men do the hunting? If this theory is true, why were women "gifted" with ADHD? And I'm not that familiar with the theory of evolution and all that, but don't you lose traits over time, that you don't need anymore?

And I'm not sure how inatentiveness equates with being observant. I'm not constantly scanning my environment and am very unobservant, so I would probably miss the predators and get killed. Of course, my anxiety could cancel that out and make me more heightened to danger, so that I would be more likely to scan the environment. But that would be my anxiety, not my ADHD. I do think my anxiety has made me a more defensive driver.

Little Missy
11-21-17, 04:57 PM
How do we really know whether anyone born prior to about 1980 had ADHD?
It's an interesting assumption, but I'm not convinced the basis can actually be
proven.

I don't know. I do know Ritalin has been prescribed since the 60's at the schools I went to.

peripatetic
11-21-17, 05:00 PM
How do we really know whether anyone born prior to about 1980 had ADHD?
It's an interesting assumption, but I'm not convinced the basis can actually be
proven.

i was born in 1974 and diagnosed in 1982 ;)

peripatetic
11-21-17, 05:06 PM
Procrastination: Hunters generally procrastinate and are not good at gathering food on a daily basis. However, once in a while, we get going.
Hyperfocus: Hyperfocus helps the moment we attack prey.
Inattentiveness: We are constantly scanning the environment and small disturbances which others may fail to notice, draws our attention. It helps in identifying hiding predators, etc. during the hunt.

are you talking about apex predators when you say "hunters"? or...? predators in general?

it makes no sense to say that hunters procrastinate and once in a while get moving. more like they try daily and once in a while succeed in getting something to eat.

and the hyperfocus...the problem is that you can't choose so readily what you get immersed in.

and with inattentiveness meaning you're constantly scanning the environment and small disturbances get your notice...you can't be serious. that's not how my inattentiveness works AT ALL.

Lunacie
11-21-17, 05:29 PM
I don't know. I do know Ritalin has been prescribed since the 60's at the schools I went to.

i was born in 1974 and diagnosed in 1982 ;)

Apparently I didn't make my point very well. I know that adhd has been around
for a long time and that a select few were diagnosed and treated before 1980.

I was saying that we cannot know for sure that people the age of Edison for
example actually had adhd, because it wasn't being diagnosed at that time,
and all we can do is guess that they might have had one disorder or another.

Kunga Dorji
11-23-17, 09:02 AM
Strictly speaking, Lunacie, ADHD is a diagnosis that only exists within the framework of DSM.

However Melchior Weikerd's work, and Alexander Crichton's work in the late 18th century is very clearly talking about ADHD.

I've posted this before:

Melchior Adam Weikard
In 1775, Melchior Adam Weikard, a prominent German physician, published the textbook Der Philosophische Arzt- approximate translation: The Philosophical Physician: Philosophical Arzeneykunst or infirmity of the sensations of the mind, and will, Volume 3
Weikard's text contained a description of ADHD-like behaviours, Weikard described many of the symptoms now associated with the inattentive dimension of ADHD in the DSM For instance, according to the English translation provided by Barkley and Peters, Weikard stated that:

"An inattentive person won’t remark anything but will be shallow everywhere. He studies his matters only superficially; his judgements are erroneous and he misconceives the worth of things because he does not spend enough time and patience to search a matter individually or by the piece with the adequate accuracy. Such people only hear half of everything; they memorize or* inform only half of it or do it in a messy manner. According to a proverb they generally know a little bit of all and nothing of the whole....They are mostly reckless, often copious considering imprudent projects, but they are also most inconstant in execution. They treat everything in a light manner since they are not attentive enough to feel denigration or disadvantages." According to Weikard, the treatment recommended was:
"The inattentive person is to be separated from the noise or any other objects; he is to be kept solitary, in the dark, when he is too active. The easily agile fibres are to be fixated by rubbing, cold baths, steel powder, cinchona,mineral waters, horseback riding, and gymnastic exercises."


Scottish-born physician and author, Sir Alexander Crichton described a mental state much like the inattentive subtype of ADHD, in his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Mental Derangement.More detailed in his observation than Weikard, Crichton described attention problems as:
"The incapacity of attending with a necessary degree of constancy to any one object, almost always arises from an unnatural or morbid sensibility of the nerves, by which means this faculty is incessantly withdrawn from one impression to another. It may be either born with a person, or it may be the effect of accidental diseases. "When born with a person it becomes evident at a very early period of life, and has a very bad effect, inasmuch as it renders him incapable of attending with constancy to any one object of education. But it seldom is in so great a degree as totally to impede all instruction; and what is very fortunate, it is generally diminished with age."
Crichton further observed:

"In this disease of attention, if it can with propriety be called so, every impression seems to agitate the person, and gives him or her an unnatural degree of mental restlessness. People walking up and down the room, a slight noise in the same, the moving of a table, the shutting a door suddenly, a slight excess of heat or of cold, too much light, or too little light, all destroy constant attention in such patients, inasmuch as it is easily excited by every impression." Crichton noted that "…they have a particular name for the state of their nerves, which is expressive enough of their feelings. They say they have the fidgets."[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_attention_deficit_hyperactivity_disorde r#cite_note-Crichton1798-4):272 Dr. Crichton suggested that these children needed special educational intervention and noted that it was obvious that they had a problem attending even how hard they did try. "Every public teacher must have observed that there are many to whom the dryness and difficulties of the Latin and Greek grammars are so disgusting that neither the terrors of the rod, nor the indulgence of kind intreaty can cause them to give their attention to them."
Both Melchior Adam Weikard and Alexander Crichton wrote about the occupationally disabling features of this disorder, including attentional problems, restlessness, early onset, and how it can affect schooling, without any of the moralism introduced by George Still and later authors.


Amazing-- I personally find intense exercise, horseback riding, and lately, immersing my head in a bucket of ice water to turn off a stress response, to be very useful.And that was not because I am pinching Weikerdt's ideas.
Mind you, finding school boring and useless may just be a sign of a healthy intellect.


Ask Benjamin Franklin-- he never went to school.

Kunga Dorji
11-23-17, 09:11 AM
are you talking about apex predators when you say "hunters"? or...? predators in general?

it makes no sense to say that hunters procrastinate and once in a while get moving. more like they try daily and once in a while succeed in getting something to eat.


Not quite- hunters were so successful that on average they had a 5 hour working day.
:)

Lunacie
11-23-17, 07:52 PM
Strictly speaking, Lunacie, ADHD is a diagnosis that only exists within the framework of DSM.

However Melchior Weikerd's work, and Alexander Crichton's work in the late 18th century is very clearly talking about ADHD.

I've posted this before:


Amazing-- I personally find intense exercise, horseback riding, and lately, immersing my head in a bucket of ice water to turn off a stress response, to be very useful.And that was not because I am pinching Weikerdt's ideas.
Mind you, finding school boring and useless may just be a sign of a healthy intellect.


Ask Benjamin Franklin-- he never went to school.

True, but ... no one was diagnosing people within any framework in Edison's
time or earlier. And ... Sir Crichton thought it was something out of which one
grew over time. Which again would mean that supposing Edison to have had
adhd impair him as adult is pure conjecture.

Kunga Dorji
11-23-17, 10:13 PM
True, but ... no one was diagnosing people within any framework in Edison's
time or earlier. And ... Sir Crichton thought it was something out of which one
grew over time. Which again would mean that supposing Edison to have had
adhd impair him as adult is pure conjecture.


Really any view of the foibles of any historical person is conjecture.

Edison certainly had a childhood history suggestive of it, and as an adult became rich enough for any disability caused by residual symptoms to be irrelevant. ie Branson etc

The other point to be made is that assuming he had learning disabilities (and he at least had a hearing problem) the fact that he was homeschooled was immensely protective for him and allowed him to develop to his fullest. He was also clearly bright- and being stuck in a mixed classroom would not have helped him any there either (he was close to oppositional defiant).

In a classroom the kid who lags behind will soon become aware of it and will feel bad about it- then start avoiding that area of study. It happened to my daughter, and could easily have happened to me-as I was mildly dyslexic.

So, from my point of view - with ADHD, the big issue is not compounding a smaller problem with a bigger one.
Children need plenty of one to one guidance, and plenty of movement, and the school system often cannot provide that.



I'd be interested to know how long a profile Crichton had of his patients and how much he was going by report. He is a careful writer though.

As a rule it does become milder in adults, and even Barkley acknowledges that.
The figures that I last heard were that about 5% fully grow out of it, and about about 1/3 fall below diagnostic threshold b the time they reach adulthood.
With luck, many of us will gravitate to work that suits our interests, and is not too physically confining, and a group of friends who suit as well. Part of ADHD is that of having a system that does not thrive in the environmental requirements of the time.

Then there is the other side of the problem that for many of us the stress of ADHD results in chronic pain, or chronic fatigue and I can guarantee you that those cause the symptoms to flare.

This is not to say that stress (physiological, not psychological) symptoms are the only cause of ADHD, but they do make it worse- hence my advocacy for meditation and relaxation-- when they are helpful.

(Briefly here i have had severe chronic pain and dysautonomia-- and meditation just has not been able to cut through the severe stress state).

-- so all that preamble is my giving an example of why anybody's progress has to be measured in terms of their overall health and their financial security, That was clearly not an issue for Edison.

Kunga Dorji
11-23-17, 10:34 PM
True, but ... no one was diagnosing people within any framework in Edison's
time or earlier. And ... Sir Crichton thought it was something out of which one
grew over time. Which again would mean that supposing Edison to have had
adhd impair him as adult is pure conjecture.

Sorry - second response.
Ive mentioned this earlier but the idea of using a model like Edison as something to hold up for a child, In fact the whole of Hartmann's approach, is not based on fact.

It is a narrative that he uses to frame NLP interventions that will help ADHD children and adults re-frame their experience in a healthy way that will allow them to grow, rather than curl up into a ball of shame.

Hartmann has said exactly that (at least early in his career in ADHD), and I agree that it is a helpful approach just so long as the parent knows that they are dealing with a child with a real brain disorder that needs specific rehabilitation plus or minus medication support.

Lunacie
11-23-17, 10:49 PM
Really any view of the foibles of any historical person is conjecture.

Edison certainly had a childhood history suggestive of it, and as an adult became rich enough for any disability caused by residual symptoms to be irrelevant. ie Branson etc

The other point to be made is that assuming he had learning disabilities (and he at least had a hearing problem) the fact that he was homeschooled was immensely protective for him and allowed him to develop to his fullest. He was also clearly bright- and being stuck in a mixed classroom would not have helped him any there either (he was close to oppositional defiant).

In a classroom the kid who lags behind will soon become aware of it and will feel bad about it- then start avoiding that area of study. It happened to my daughter, and could easily have happened to me-as I was mildly dyslexic.

So, from my point of view - with ADHD, the big issue is not compounding a smaller problem with a bigger one.
Children need plenty of one to one guidance, and plenty of movement, and the school system often cannot provide that.



I'd be interested to know how long a profile Crichton had of his patients and how much he was going by report. He is a careful writer though.

As a rule it does become milder in adults, and even Barkley acknowledges that.
The figures that I last heard were that about 5% fully grow out of it, and about about 1/3 fall below diagnostic threshold b the time they reach adulthood.
With luck, many of us will gravitate to work that suits our interests, and is not too physically confining, and a group of friends who suit as well. Part of ADHD is that of having a system that does not thrive in the environmental requirements of the time.

Then there is the other side of the problem that for many of us the stress of ADHD results in chronic pain, or chronic fatigue and I can guarantee you that those cause the symptoms to flare.

This is not to say that stress (physiological, not psychological) symptoms are the only cause of ADHD, but they do make it worse- hence my advocacy for meditation and relaxation-- when they are helpful.

(Briefly here i have had severe chronic pain and dysautonomia-- and meditation just has not been able to cut through the severe stress state).

-- so all that preamble is my giving an example of why anybody's progress has to be measured in terms of their overall health and their financial security, That was clearly not an issue for Edison.

ONLY 1/3 reach a point as adults where adhd isn't considered impairing.

That doesn't make it a rule that it does become milder in adults. :confused: