The best way to handle attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 

One million viewers a day tune in to ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” to watch Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon debate, inflate and rant about the latest sports news. Their style is in-your-face and high-rev. If you don’t like it, you can turn it off.

In real life, when high-rev, interruption-filled behavior might be a sign that your preschooler has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it’s tougher to know what to do. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines to help parents of kids 6 and younger choose the best treatment for ADHD.

Behavioral therapy that teaches kids and parents how to adopt alternative behaviors and interact more gracefully in social situations is THE way to go. That’s because, according to a CDC representative, no one yet knows “what the long-term effects of psychotropic medications are on developing brains and bodies of little kids.” Behavioral therapy, however, is safe and can make long-term improvements in how a child functions at home, in school and with friends.

Unfortunately, for kids with ADHD, many never get to try behavioral therapy, and almost half of preschoolers with ADHD take medications for the disorder. So if your preschooler is hyperactive, impulsive or has trouble focusing, ask for a referral to a behavioral therapist who specializes in treating youngsters with ADHD. Your child might end up on medication if his or her behaviors are seriously unsafe or if behavioral therapy doesn’t address the problem sufficiently, but it’s the smart first step.

MOVE IT OR GAIN IT

Don Pellman, age 99, did the high jump in college, but gave it up for the next 58 years. Then after retirement he decided to get back into track and field. He went on to win four U.S. track records in his age group (high jump, long jump, discus and pole vault — including one at age 95) and set four world records. “You have to keep training 365 days a year,” he says. “I do something every day, if nothing but long, brisk walks.” Clearly, he’s living proof that researchers from the University of South Carolina have got it right. They found that older folks need to use it to lose it and move it or gain it — weight, that is.

Looking at the habits of 4,999 adults ages 20-70, they found that most seniors improve their diet by opting for more veggies and leaner proteins, but they still gain a lot of life-shortening weight (35 percent of seniors are obese). The culprit, the researchers say, is a precipitous decline in physical activity. Less than 7.25 percent of adults 60-69 and 8.5 percent of those 70 or older get the recommended minimum 150 minutes of weekly activity.

But listen up, advancing agers: You can turn back the clock on your RealAge by adopting a walking routine (aim for 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent — 1 minute of aerobic activity equals 100 steps) and doing strength training twice a week. Maybe taking that short jump to better health will inspire you to try a long jump, too!

MAD ABOUT SAFFRON

In 1966, when Donovan crooned “I’m just mad about Saffron/Saffron’s mad about me,” we don’t think he knew it takes 70,000 to 250,000 purple saffron crocuses to make one pound of the amber-red seasoning. No wonder it costs $75 or more an ounce.

But its delicate flavor, wonderful color and nutritional payload turn out to be only part of its powers: A new study reveals that taking the spice is a more effective way to prevent and control post-exercise pain than taking an anti-inflammatory pain reliever.

Researchers had a group of inactive 18-year-olds go through a series of strenuous exercises: Those who took the powdered saffron (300 milligrams, or 1/100 of an ounce, daily for one week before and for three days after working out) were pain-free for 72 hours after exercising; those who took the NSAID had minor pain 24 hours later; and those who took neither had severe muscle pain for three days afterward.

So the next time you’re getting ready to take a hike, join a charity walk-a-thon, do a fun run or are just looking for a flavor treat, cook up some paella, vegetable soup or Moroccan seafood stew, and add some saffron. Luckily, it takes just a pinch to impart its flavor and goodness.

STOP THE PILLAGING

When the Visigoths pillaged Rome in 410 A.D., they ravaged the once mighty empire and caused alarm all around the Mediterranean. Today’s pill-aging (too many pills!) is shocking doctors and patients as they discover the harmful effects that can come from being overmedicated.

A recent study from Thomas Jefferson University shows one kind of trouble that modern pill-aging can cause: The scientists found that 43 percent of the study’s participants (all 65 or older and currently receiving cancer treatments) took more than 10 different medications. Around 120 of the participants took ones that might conflict with their chemo regimens. For example, blood thinners such as warfarin may increase bleeding risks associated with some cancer treatments, and ibuprofen also might trigger problems.

Since 60 percent of cancers occur in patients 65 and older, pill-aging is an accident waiting to happen.

But whatever your age, it is important to pay attention to the potential interaction between your meds and with any kind of medical treatment you receive. Try downloading a free app like Rxmind Me Prescription or MediSafe Meds and Pill Reminder. Not only will you have help remembering to take your meds, but you’ll have an easy-to-read list to show your doc. Don’t forget to put OTC meds and supplements in there, too.
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