Dr. Francisco Aboitiz: "in Chile there is an overdiagnosis of the disorder deficit attention"

Dr. Francisco Aboitiz: "in Chile there is an overdiagnosis of the disorder deficit attention"

Nowadays it is very common to hear public opinion on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD), example of this disorder, it is the high frequency with which this disease is named in schools in Chile, which tend to maintain high rates of students who are "attributed" this disorder.

While many times there are medical opinions that support these diagnoses, there are other cases, which are not endorsed by them, and rather, respond to little professional consensus made by third parties. In that sense, it tends to stigmatize children under this condition, when they do not necessarily have it. One may then wonder if the attention Deficit is disease of fashion? Apparently so, since our country has a large percentage of diagnoses for this condition.

To clarify - from the scientific point of view and clinical - concepts which include ADHD, the biology society of Chile spoke with Dr. Francisco Aboitiz, who holds a PhD in neuroscience from the University of California and Professor Titular of the Faculty of Medicine of the Pontifical University Catholic of Chile. Her fields of interest are cognitive neuroscience and the neurobiology comparative.

Dr. Aboitiz "holds that attention is a process where varies between different attentional States, however, all organisms that exist need to select and make a decision with respect to the stimulus who will respond and who is not, therefore, a fundamental biological function.

In this context, Attention Deficit and hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder is characterized by the inability to select stimuli that are important. This syndrome, affects to seven percent of the population, becoming a subject of great importance for public health and education"(Wednesday at the Academy. Explore Conicyt).

Then the interview that the society of biology of Chile made to Dr. Francisco Aboitiz.

What is it meant by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition characterized by 3 major symptoms; inattention (low ability to focus), hyperactivity (the boy or girl is not quiescent) and impulsivity (unable to control). In that sense, the history of this disorder has its birth in the analysis carried out in schools.

There is literature that speaks of very old cases of children, who we assume, correspond to the symptoms of attention deficit.

Then, under this scenario, we are facing a condition that comes is recognized as a syndrome, that is, a group of symptoms that occur together, for several years, and basically, it has to do with the difficult handling of these children in the classroom, that is the central point of the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.

How materializes ADHD on the performance of children in their schools?

Children with ADHD - in cognitive terms - tend to perform worse than their peers, basically, because they fail to focus your attention and have a controlled behaviour that allows them to carry out their work. They develop a syndrome dysexecutive, which is linked to the alteration of the memory of labour, care and poor management of the inhibitory control.

How is measured and studied the variables that surround them cases of children with ADHD?

We have done several studies of attention Deficit, and through them, has been - through comparative exercises with children - that there are many variables that measure this executive function in which, by the way, we have observed a noticeable difference.

We realized that children have a greater MRIF when they should be focused on one point, which is not only expressed in carrying out the task, but also on the activity of the brain. A child without deficits blocked the AKP, not generating detectable cognitive activity with them, on the other hand, the child with attention deficit, fails to separate the distracting from the task. In this regard, it is appropriate to clarify that the medication helps to improve, more that happens in some children, in others not.

Is ADHD hereditary?

The attention Deficit is a very heritable condition, so a child with ADHD - most likely - that it has had at least one parent with the condition. Also is have found some relations with genes specific, especially those genes associated to the system Catecolaminérgico, that is a group of neurotransmitters or neuromodulators, that regulate all that that have that see with the conduct motivated, this form part of the system Reticular activating, which you puts up front any contingency.

The idea is that there is a dysfunction of this system, now well, what about that dysfunction? We don't have clear yet. We believe that there is an alteration in - at least - two components of this system, they are dopamine and norepinephrine or adrenaline, neurotransmitters that if well are interrelated, they have slightly different functions in the brain, in fact, the genes that regulate the mechanisms of these neurotransmitters have been linked to attention Deficit. This does not mean that if one has those genes necessarily has ADHD, but more likely.

Is there an excess of diagnostics linked to ADHD?

Children who are diagnosed with ADHD respond to a population that is distinguished from the others, the problem is that the diagnosis is quite lax and in fact that is one of the problems that have occurred. You must be extremely careful in the diagnosis, and we must try to be as accurate as possible to select the sample. But this does not happen, and even teachers diagnosed children with attention deficit, so there has been a tendency to over-diagnosis of this pathology.

Is ADHD a pathology?

ADHD is considered within what are the developmental disorders, then, is a clinical entity and hence is pathology. However, what we have to deal with ADHD, is a group of children who are a bit different, so I ask myself "what is so different to consider it a pathology?".

In that sense, the developmental disorders have a spectrum that includes more severe autism, attention deficit. These pathologies, have to do with abnormal development of the central nervous system that shows its consequences early on, these disorders, they are subject to conditions that can be "not normal", but not restrictive or limiting.

We aim our studies to find toughest tools in the field of Psychiatry, which is based on the conversation with the patient, since we see that patients with ADHD and with more severe disorders, they pass through many diagnoses. And while ADHD is the first thing you say, psychiatry is distinguished from other medical specialties because there are no items as measurable (as in cardiology, for example).

In that sense, our goal is generate a tool of diagnosis quantitative for this type of conditions, however, believe that rather than a Holy Grail to detect ADHD, will detect dimensions of people that is moving in a space multidimensional, where there are features that is placed in a space with certain positions and is form clouds, rather than pathologies discrete. Molecularly there are risk factors, most anything that is decisive.

Source: 4ID/CONGRESS, All rights reserved. ®
Journalist:Patricio Grunert Alarcón. ®

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Quote as source a: 4ID-CONGRESS® /Patricio Grunert Alarcón, All rights reserved. ®