View Full Version : this just in from MSN news...


ms_sunshine
09-19-06, 10:45 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14897034/

I'd like to point out that I was not exposed to lead, neither were my children, and while I cannot vouch for my birthmother not smoking while I was in utero, I can definitely go on the record that I did not smoke, nor was I around it during all four of my pregnancies. I am still adhd, and officially, so are two of my children. :) However, studies are usually interesting. I would like to know the rest of the specifics on this one. If anyone has a link for them/it, please pm me with the info.

Crazy~Feet
09-19-06, 10:48 AM
I was not exposed to lead nor to smoke, nor were all my kids, nor was my own father. :rolleyes:

More hoohah. Ugh. I wish they would put more money into studies that would help those of us with ADHD instead of trying to prevent it in the future! Who is going to invent and create if they wipe us from the skin of the Earth anyway? :mad:

fasttalkingmom
09-19-06, 11:27 AM
Both my parents smoked and most everyone around them did as well. I'm the only ADDer out of my siblings.

I don't know about the lead

Squirrel
09-19-06, 12:17 PM
No smokers or lead exposure here either - blatantly inherited if you look at my dad's side of the family.

Here's the original publication (PDF format) (http://www.ehponline.org/members/2006/9478/9478.pdf)...

Haven't read it properly yet, but given the fact that ADDers are more likely to smoke, it needn't be a causal relationship.

We used parent report to measure children's exposure to tobacco products. Measurement
of prenatal tobacco smoke exposure consisted of the question, “Did the child's biological mother
smoke at any time while she was pregnant with him/her?” No information on the quantity or
brand of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy was collected. Postnatal tobacco smoke exposure
was assessed using parent reported exposure to household ETS by asking, "Does anyone who
lives here smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes anywhere inside this home?"
Wonder what asking whether the child has relatives who smoke in general would do to the numbers...

Nova
09-19-06, 03:53 PM
I don't know if my mother smoked, or not, while she was pregnant with me.
She smoked periodically, while I was very young, and that's all I remember.

The state of Louisiana, has one of teh highest exposures to lead, but that's no big secret.

http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/page.asp?id=263&detail=6296

lunaslobo
09-20-06, 12:01 AM
I think that nicotine was probably the least harmrfull chemical my birth mom ingested while she was pregnant with me. so I really dont know if any thing that she took, smoked, drank, or shot up could have cotributed to the nice upstanding and may I say good looking person I am today. I just happen to be covered in fur and I howl every full moon, I thought everyone did that.

Hyperion
09-20-06, 02:46 AM
Not another misinterpretation of the *******ed lead study again!

There needs to be a law that one cannot report on a scientific study unless one has the minimum reading comprehension possessed by a #$%ing pygmy chimpanzee.

I'll post more tomorrow on the lead study, suffice to say, it actually disproves lead as a cause of ADHD, and strengthens the case that the disorder is genetic in origin. But you'd never know that from these %^*ing morons.

For the record, neither of my parents smoked during my gestation, and as far as I know, I was not exposed to much lead...in fact, I'm fairly certain that I was not exposed to much lead because very few people with lead poisoning break IQ tests.

These people really should be fired. No, not fired, they should be used in an experiment to test whether lead causes ADHD. We'll let them "prove" their case by ingesting lead and seeing what it does to them.

Crazy~Feet
09-20-06, 02:48 AM
Great idea Hyperion! Wicked but effective. Thanks for taking the time to bring us the proper evidence.

Tara
09-20-06, 03:35 AM
I really wish they would do more research to see if they mothers who smoked fit the criteria for AD/HD themselves.

Nova
09-20-06, 12:48 PM
No doubt, Tara !

Aizlyne
09-20-06, 01:15 PM
My mother was a heavy smoker but NEVER while she was pregnant. She smoked until I was about 15 and then quit. I've never been exposed to lead as far as I know.

FrazzleDazzle
09-20-06, 02:19 PM
About the lead thing, my son was exposed to lead from the age of 5 through present, as we have a hobby that exposes us to it. Of course we are always careful, but there is still exposure. At one point I did have his levels checked and they were “alright.” I may go ahead and get the actual report, as the article mentioned levels below acceptable “causing” problems. It would just be interesting to find out. But no smoke or other junk in the systems of either my mom or me gestationally.


Lead exposure, we all think of as lead paint chips, but microwaving and/or consuming food or drinks in ceramicware and/or other metal utensils or periodware, and of course hobbies of various sorts to expose one to leads, such as stainglassing and shooting.

Faylen
09-20-06, 04:24 PM
If you're over 30, you were exposed to lead. We all were. Lots and lots and lots of it. Lead paint, leaded gasoline, who knows what else, but it was everywhere. If lead were a cause, then everyone over 30 would have ADD. Sheesh. These newscasts are always grasping at straws to get market share.

VisualImagery
09-21-06, 12:06 AM
Not all ceramic ware has lead-it is usually an issue with cheap imported goods. Most ceramics are made with lead free glazes-there are many options that are lead free-they don't use them in college ceramic courses, and are not used by tableware manufactureres in the us. Thank the lawyers for this one-it is a good thing they did! Tableware today is made from stainless steel, no lead is used in the manufacture-there is no risk in using your silverware-Miss Manners would be very glad to know this. So eat your food, use the good china and practice your manners! They got the lead out-or it never was there!

RADD

About the lead thing, my son was exposed to lead from the age of 5 through present, as we have a hobby that exposes us to it. Of course we are always careful, but there is still exposure. At one point I did have his levels checked and they were “alright.” I may go ahead and get the actual report, as the article mentioned levels below acceptable “causing” problems. It would just be interesting to find out. But no smoke or other junk in the systems of either my mom or me gestationally.


Lead exposure, we all think of as lead paint chips, but microwaving and/or consuming food or drinks in ceramicware and/or other metal utensils or periodware, and of course hobbies of various sorts to expose one to leads, such as stainglassing and shooting.

~boots~
09-21-06, 12:08 AM
Both my parents smoked and most everyone around them did as well. I'm the only ADDer out of my siblings.

I don't know about the leadme too :eek:

VisualImagery
09-21-06, 12:10 AM
No smoke in my background-only a downwinder from the Hanford project, but then ADD would be concentrated in people who lived in Richland WA and the surrounding area-thyroid problems-possibly, depending on which study-So I have ADD and glow in the dark-but as Hyperion points out-you have to read the entire article-if you don't have time at least read the summary, that way misunderstandings are avoided.

RADD

~boots~
09-21-06, 01:01 AM
. I just happen to be covered in fur and I howl every full moon, I thought everyone did that. we do :D LOL

Hyperion
09-21-06, 02:28 AM
The lead study, at least the one I assume they are referring to here, did not show that "lead causes ADHD." It actually proved the opposite, but as with everything else regarding this disorder, there are a lot of people who won't let little things like accuracy or veracity stand in their way.

In this study, researchers looked at three groups of children. One group had a mutation on the DRD4 gene that previous experiments had shown correlated with severe ADHD. Group 2 had a similar but slightly different DRD4 mutation, which previous experiments had shown correlated with milder ADHD. Group 3 had "normal" DRD4 genes.

Researchers tested lead levels at the beginning and end of the study, and then tested the children for ADHD. The study found that none of the kids with the "normal" DRD4 genes developed ADHD, regardless of how much lead they were exposed to. Oh, excess lead certainly correlated with cognitive impairment in this group, but it didn't cause ADHD. This alone would be enough evidence to show that lead does not cause ADHD. However, what they found in the other two groups was even more interesting. In the severe group, lead levels did not correlate with the severity of the disorder. Kids with low levels might have a greater degree of disability than kids with higher lead levels, it simply didn't play a role. So here we have two groups where lead plays absolutely no role in the development of ADHD.

What gets these nitwits into a state is what happened to the mild group. In this group, the children with higher lead levels also had higher degrees of ADHD symptoms. Note that they all had ADHD symptoms, it's just that the mild kids with low lead levels had mild cases of ADHD, and the mild kids with higher lead levels tended to resemble the kids in the severe group.

What does this tell us? If you have a genetic predisposition to develop a neurological disorder, consuming large quantities of a known neurotoxin could certainly make it worse in some individuals. If this comes as a surprise to anyone here, please go sterilize yourselves now. The findings of the study were completely consisted with a genetic etiology, influenced by known environmental hazards in some persons.

Of course, a cursory glance at the twin studies should have made this apparent. Not to mention the fact that medication will not reverse actual neurotoxicity due to heavy metal poisoning. This is one of those basic facts of neurology that most non-physicians can probably figure out on their own. If heavy metals kill off thousands or millions of brain cells, all the Adderall in the world ain't going to bring them back. Clearly what we're lookig at with ADHD is something completely different. Also note the studies which have found excessively high striatal DAT density. There is no known mechanism by which lead could cause this...if it did, virtually everything that is known about chemistry, physics, neurology, basic cellular biology, medicine, etc would have to be rewritten from scratch. It is certainly possible that everything else is wrong and the people claiming that lead causes ADHD are right, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Oy.

Note that these morons don't even attempt to address any of the other evidence regarding the disorder: the twin studies, Zametkin's PET scans, the MTA, medication, DAT density, DAT pharmacodynamics, basic neurology, DRD4 polymorphism. It is as if they are merely hoping that their audience is a bunch of clueless rubes who think that science is just voodoo in white lab coats....which tragically is probably a pretty solid chunk of the American population.

Squirrel
09-21-06, 12:07 PM
Nope, different study, no fancy polymorphisms or anything.

...said the authors, led by researcher Joe Braun of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.The study was to be published online Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
I found it by going to the journal's site.

Braun, J. et al, Exposures to Environmental Toxicants and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in US Childrendoi:10.1289/ehp.9478 (http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2006/9478/abstract.html)

Abstract
Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the association of exposures to tobacco
smoke and environmental lead with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Methods: Data was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-
2002. Prenatal and postnatal tobacco exposure was based on parent report; lead exposure was
measured using blood lead concentration. ADHD was defined as current stimulant medication
use and parent report of ADHD diagnosed by a doctor or health professional.
Results: Of 4,704 children age 4 to 15 years, 4.2% were reported to have ADHD and stimulant
medication use, equivalent to 1.8 million children in the U.S. In multivariable analysis, prenatal
tobacco exposure (Odds Ratio [OR]: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.2, 5.2) and higher blood lead concentration
(first vs. fifth quintile, OR: 4.1; 95% CI: 1.2, 14.0) were significantly associated with ADHD.
Postnatal tobacco smoke exposure was not associated with ADHD (OR 0.6; 95% CI: 0.3, 1.3;
p=0.22). If causally linked, these data suggest that prenatal tobacco exposure accounts for
270,000 excess cases of ADHD and lead exposure accounts for 290,000 excess cases of ADHD
in U.S. children.
Conclusions: We conclude that exposure to prenatal tobacco and environmental lead are risk
factors for ADHD in U.S. children.I'd almost be willing to bet you'd find an association if you looked at people whose fathers are smokers but did not expose their mothers during pregnancy...

Hyperion
09-23-06, 03:56 AM
If causally linked, these data suggest that prenatal tobacco exposure accounts for
270,000 excess cases of ADHD and lead exposure accounts for 290,000 excess cases of ADHD
in U.S. children.
Ok. According to NIMH:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. It is hard for these children to control their behavior and/or pay attention. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have ADHD, or approximately 2 million children in the United States.http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/adhd.cfm#intro

So both sources agree that we're looking at an overall population somewhere around 2 million, give or take. Now, even if there is a causal link, tobacco and lead would account for at most around 1/4 of ADHD cases.

With the tobacco exposure, it really could go either way with regards to causation. On the one hand, people with ADHD are known to be more likely to use tobacco and other drugs, and also more likely to have children with ADHD, which would imply no causation. On the other hand, nicotine does have dopaminergic effects, which implies the possibility that prenatal exposure to nicotine could cause changes in the dopamine system similar to those seen in ADHD.

With the lead exposure, however, there are some serious problems. One is that heavy-metal induced neurotoxicity simply does not resemble ADHD. It can wreak all kinds of havok upon the neurological systems, but it would be far more broad based. You'd see problems with more than just executive functions, and it would not respond to medication for the simple reason that dead neurons cannot be activated by medication, electrical stimulation, effort, biofeedback, prayer, voodoo, or even opening up the skull and inserting jumper cables. And yet, this study claims that these children were medicated, and so presumably the medication was having some effect. How do they propose that psychostimulants can reverse lead toxicity?

There is also the question of how postnatal (I presume) lead exposure would result in ADHD when postnatal tobacco exposure doesn't correlate. If the neural pathways involved are developed enough by birth such that a specific dopaminergic drug can't affect them to cause the disorder, why would lead?

And what about the children who were exposed to neither (such as myself and many others who have spoken on this board)? What about children exposed to both who fail to develop ADHD?

I'd almost be willing to bet you'd find an association if you looked at people whose fathers are smokers but did not expose their mothers during pregnancy...
hehehe, you're saying it's ADHD leading to smoking, not the other way around? Yeah, I'd have to agree.

I do wonder also whether their diagnostic criteria were exacting enough. Were the lead-exposed children ADHD, or did the researchers simply lump them together based on general neurological difficulties? This is why researchers often try to look at "pure" ADHD individuals, even though so many of us have comorbidities (or at least the flavorings of other disorders), because they want to isolate specific causes.

I also want to know one question that is not answered here: Are the lead blood-level differences clinically significant. Leaving aside the question of whether there is a statistical significance in the lead levels (indicating a correlation), is there a clinical significance that demonstrates that the difference between the ADHD and non-ADHD lead levels would have produced a clinically different effect. Are we talking a statistically significant difference that is still within allowable levels, or if not, what percentage of the ADHD children had blood lead levels above the generally acceptable limit compared to the percentage of non-ADHD children who had blood-lead levels above that same limit. This is an essential question, as it goes directly to the heart of whether this is a red-herring or a cause for some children. It is not important what the median (not mean, if they used mean, they should be ridiculed and never published again) blood-lead levels were, but the difference in percentage displaying blood-lead levels above those considered safe.

The article is available for free, so give me some time to read through it and I'll see if any of these issues are addressed by the authors.

Hyperion
09-23-06, 05:19 AM
We conducted secondary analyses to examine the effects of lead exposure at blood lead
levels <5 ug/dL and to test the stability of our results. When the sample was restricted to
children with concurrent blood lead concentrations <5 ug/dL, there was still a significant
association between higher blood lead levels and ADHD. Compared to children in the lowest
quintile (Not Detectable to 0.7 ug/dL), children with blood lead levels in the highest quintile (2.0
to 5 ug/dL) had a 4.5-fold (95% CI: 1.3, 15.3) higher risk for ADHD.
And here we get to the meat of the problem. Were it not so late, I would be using four-letter words to describe my opinions of this passage, but lemme just put it simply: These authors are either idiots or else they lied or intentionally misled in their abstract. Earlier in the paper, they mentioned that the generally accepted safe level of blood lead was 10ug/dl. Remember that figure.

Here, the authors are comparing the lead levels for patients who were all below half of the generally accepted safe limit. Also, note the math here: 1/5 of the kids had levels below 0.7ug/dl, 3/5 had lead levels between 0.7-2ug/dl, and 1/5 of the kids had lead levels between 2-5ug/dl. So while the lowest quintile and the highest quintile might sound like equal amounts, they're not. 2-5ug/dl is a fairly large range, compared to the same number of kids who scored within a fairly small range. Think of it this way: if we take 100 kids, it would look like this:

20 kids would score below 0.7, 60 kids would score between 0.7-2, and 20 kids would score between 2-5. So there were more kids with ADHD in the top group than the bottom group, but look at the spread on that top group, it encompasses a much higher range of possible scores, whereas the bottom group is clustered together. Also, they don't mention the middle group at all, and they're not comparing ADHD kids to neurotypicals, only comparing the 20 kids at the top and the 20 at the bottom and finding more ADHD kids at the top.

The population attributable fraction for prenatal tobacco smoke exposure for both males
and females was 18.4% (95% CI: 5.1%, 24.8%), corresponding to 270,000 cases of ADHD in
children age 4 to 15 (Table 3).
So 18.4% of ADHD cases involved prenatal tobacco smoke. What of the rest? Doesn't this imply that prenatal tobacco smoke is not a likely cause of ADHD?

Our
estimates indicate that 21.1% (95%CI: 4.6%, 25.9%) of ADHD cases among children age 4 to 15
were attributable to having a blood lead > 2.0 g/dL. This corresponds to 290,000 excess cases
of ADHD among U.S. children age 4 to 15 (Table 3).
Oh dear lord. By definition, 20% of all children in the study had blood lead levels above 2ug/dl. That is the definition of one quintile. 1/5=20%

So 20% of the children as a whole had blood lead levels above 2ug/dl, and 21.1% of all ADHD children had blood-lead levels above 2ug/dl.

Wow. What a @#$%ing shock. Maybe the headline should have been "children with ADHD are as statistically likely to have high blood-lead levels as children without ADHD." Oh, wait, that wouldn't have gotten their study mentioned in the USA Today! Not to mention that the children in question were all below half of the generally accepted safe limit. These authors should be ashamed of themselves. Honestly. On Monday, I am writing a letter to the journal and to these authors, this is beyond ridiculous, and edging across the line into either gross incompetence or gross misrepresentation of their data.

I'm sorry, words cannot express exactly how utterly ashamed I am of this study. I would be ashamed if I had even cited any of the authors involved from any other study, and in fact I may very well double check that to make sure that I have never cited them before.

Hyperion
09-23-06, 05:25 AM
Honestly, I still can't get over that paragraph. 21.1% of ADHD children have blood-lead levels in the top quintile. That has got to be one of the stupidest things I have read in a long, long time.

It reminds me of the old joke about the college student who said to her professor: "I hate this class, did you know that half the students in there scored below the median on the last test?"

Except that I didn't think that anyone would actually do something like that in reality, or that it would get past a peer review! Holy %^&#ing %#$@!

(that exclamation point was actually an exclamation point, not part of the expletive).

Squirrel
09-29-06, 06:29 PM
Some things that manage to get past peer reviewers are quite shocking. But then again, some people's grasp of data interpretation in general is shocking. I witnessed a Biochemist with a PhD asking what the p-value means (after witnessing someone else using a t-test on data I'll bet wasn't normal). I know the Biochems in my department didn't do nearly as much Stats as the Biologists, and I don't claim to be much of an expert on the subject, but c'mon...it's a p-value!:confused:

On Monday, I am writing a letter to the journal and to these authors, this is beyond ridiculous, and edging across the line into either gross incompetence or gross misrepresentation of their data.Right on! Shame letters to the editor usually don't come with an abstract for the fast food crowd though.

Hyperion
09-29-06, 09:04 PM
A biochemist didn't know what a P-value was? Hell, when I was in undergrad, even the poli sci majors took enough empirical stats classes to know that. Are you sure that he wasn't just asking what the p-value for a particular study was? No, you're probably right, he may not have known what it was.

The thing is, a p-value is fairly arcane, and I can see situations where reasonable people might disagree over whether to accept something with a p-value of, say, .05 or .06 as being statistically significant. In this study, it didn't even get to the p-value part, they seemed not to grasp the basic definition of a quintile. I mean, maybe I'm missing something, but I could have sworn that quintiles involved dividing a group into 5 even parts, and that 1/5=20%. I may have gotten a D in the one calc course I took in undergrad, but I at least learned that much by, I don't know, middle school.

Everyone I've mentioned this to has either laughed immediately or was confused as to why anyone would write something that stupid. 21% of ADHD patients had lead levels in the top quintile....I still can't get over that. Wow. If any of the authors of this study happen to be reading this, please sterilize yourselves and/or your spouses and offspring now so as to avoid any further pollution of the gene pool. Thank you.

I may be ADHD, but at least I'm not stupid.

Squirrel
09-30-06, 07:41 AM
I knew what p < 0.05 means in highschool and there was no escaping stats in first year undergrad computer labs and tutorials, although apparently that's not the case everywhere. The person I'm talking about literally had the printout from SPSS in front of her and started taking notes once someone explained it to her "<0.05 significant, 0.06 not significant but possibly a trend etc." :eek:

I've also had a conversation that went roughly like this "Erm, I can't use a t-test on this, it's categorical data, it won't be normal. It would violate the assumptions of a parametric test" "But the t-test will tell you whether it's normal." "Err, no...that's what a normality test is for" Writing my placement report up for Uni should be fun, since people who actually know data interpretation will be marking it.

So 18.4% of ADHD cases involved prenatal tobacco smoke. What of the rest? Doesn't this imply that prenatal tobacco smoke is not a likely cause of ADHD?Hmm, how many percent of Americans smoke anyway?

Hyperion
10-22-06, 03:26 AM
That turned out to be a very good question. Courtesy of the American Cancer Society, we find:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 46.2 million US adults were current smokers in 2001 (the most recent year for which numbers are available). This is 22.8% of all adults (25.2% of men, 20.7% of women) - nearly 1 in every 4 people.


When broken down by race/ethnicity, the numbers were as follows: Whites
African Americans
Hispanics
American Indians/Alaska Natives
Asian Americans 24.0%
22.3%
16.7%
32.7%
12.4%





http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_10_2X_Cigarette_Smoking_and_Cancer.asp?siteare a=PED


Now, that a woman uses tobacco does not automatically imply that she would smoke during pregnancy, but it does appear as though the percentage of women with ADHD children who smoked during pregnancy is slightly below the percentage of women in the general population who smoke.

Good call on that one, it appears as though the perinatal tobacco exposure may not be much different for ADHD children than for the general population (and of course there's the fact that parents of ADHD children would be more likely to think "oh, I should probably report that I smoked an occasional cigarette in case that's what caused Jonny's problems" whereas the parents of neurotypical children would be more likely to think "oh, I probably don't need to count the occasional cigarette I might have smoked when I was pregnant, I don't really remember and the kid turned out fine anyway, so it's not really important.")

happycat
10-26-06, 09:36 AM
no smoke or lead here wither--but there's definitley many people from my mom's side of the family I would consider perfect candidates for add--that includes all generations--and I'm pretty sure my great-grandmother did not smoke--the lead, I'm not too sure of back then, though...

Paws13
10-26-06, 04:53 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14897034/

I'd like to point out that I was not exposed to lead, neither were my children, and while I cannot vouch for my birthmother not smoking while I was in utero, I can definitely go on the record that I did not smoke, nor was I around it during all four of my pregnancies. I am still adhd, and officially, so are two of my children. :) However, studies are usually interesting. I would like to know the rest of the specifics on this one. If anyone has a link for them/it, please pm me with the info.If that article is true, that would explain my ADD. My mom wasn't expose to lead paint, and she didn't eat the lead paint chips, but she did smoke for a while.

Still, I agreen with crazy feet; they should try and put that money to CURES for ADD, not prevent it in the future.

Squirrel
11-12-06, 05:29 PM
That turned out to be a very good question. Courtesy of the American Cancer Society, we find:


Now, that a woman uses tobacco does not automatically imply that she would smoke during pregnancy, but it does appear as though the percentage of women with ADHD children who smoked during pregnancy is slightly below the percentage of women in the general population who smoke.

Good call on that one, it appears as though the perinatal tobacco exposure may not be much different for ADHD children than for the general population (and of course there's the fact that parents of ADHD children would be more likely to think "oh, I should probably report that I smoked an occasional cigarette in case that's what caused Jonny's problems" whereas the parents of neurotypical children would be more likely to think "oh, I probably don't need to count the occasional cigarette I might have smoked when I was pregnant, I don't really remember and the kid turned out fine anyway, so it's not really important.")Yep, my "null hypothesis", if you can call it that, was something along those lines.