"Brain in the News" is a weekly commentary on how brain science relates to the news. The brain is involved in everything we do. Wherever there are human stories the brain is involved. From the impact of war and natural disasters on the brain to drug abuse scandals to courtroom dramas to politics the brain is in the news, and you can read about it here.

Memory Lapse May Not be a “Senior Moment” but ADD

The upcoming edition of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs will publish our latest Amen Clinics research paper concerning ADD and the growing “over-50” population.  Here’s the official press release…

If you’re over 50 and forget something or have trouble concentrating many might fear the worst.  Is this a “senior moment” or worse, early signs of Alzheimer’s disease?  Seniors might be surprised to learn they could instead be suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  It’s a problem their grandchildren are more likely to be diagnosed with.

In a just-released study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Dr. Daniel Amen shows ADD does indeed affect seniors.   In this study, 27 patients over age 50 who had previously been diagnosed with ADD were compared to a group of healthy subjects of the same age.  SPECT brain imaging showed significantly lower activity in the brains of ADD patients compared to healthy subjects. The difference was more severe when test subjects were scanned during a concentration task. The study shows SPECT brain imaging can help diagnose the problem in aging patients.

ADD can put seniors at risk for other more serious health issues.  `“ADD might actually increase a patient’s risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.  Patients who have attention deficit disorder are at increased risk for head injuries, alcoholism and depression, all of which increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease”, says Dr. Daniel Amen. 

The ADD diagnosis in seniors is likely to increase as more baby boomers retire and no longer have the structure of the workplace to help them cope with their unknown disorder. ADD in the elderly population has not been studied so it’s unknown if the disorder affects them differently than teenagers.

To your brain health,


Daniel Amen, M.D.
CEO, Amen Clinics, Inc.
Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association

Dr. Amen's Blog - Recent Articles

Dr. Amen's Upcoming Appearances

California Association of Private Special Education Schools
April 11, 2008  - April 12, 2008
Crowne Plaza Resort Anaheim-Garden Grove,  Garden Grove, CA  More...

Ben Franklin Institute: Summit for Clinical Excellance
April 11, 2008  - April 13, 2008
Chicago Marriot O'Hare,  Chicago, IL  More...

Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital: Young Minds
April 17, 2008  - April 18, 2008
Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital,  Hastings, NE  More...

West Virginia Counseling Association (Eastern Region)
May 09, 2008 
National Conservation Training Center,  Shepherdstown, West Virginia   More...

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