[p2p-research] ADHD or lack of Vitamin D? Albany Free School connection?
Paul D. Fernhout
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sun Oct 11 01:34:13 CEST 2009
Found a blog post by someone on the issue of ADHD and Vitamin D:
"ADHD or Lack of Vitamin D?"
They cite this article:
"Vitamin D in brain function: Vitamin D supplementation for high risk
groups may be warranted"
"In a definitive critical review, scientists at Children�s Hospital &
Research Center Oakland ask whether there is convincing biological or
behavioral evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction. Joyce
C. McCann, Ph.D., assistant staff scientist and Bruce N. Ames, Ph.D., senior
scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) conclude
that there is ample biological evidence to suggest an important role for
vitamin D in brain development and function, and that supplementation for
groups chronically low in vitamin D is warranted. Their conclusions will be
published on April 22, 2008 in the Federation of American Societies for
Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal. ...
McCann & Ames point out that evidence for vitamin D�s involvement in
brain function includes the wide distribution of vitamin D receptors
throughout the brain. They also discuss vitamin D's ability to affect
proteins in the brain known to be directly involved in learning and memory,
motor control, and possibly even maternal and social behavior. The review
also discusses studies in both humans and animals that present suggestive
though not definitive evidence of cognitive or behavioral consequences of
vitamin D inadequacy. The authors discuss possible reasons for the apparent
discrepancy between the biological and behavioral evidence, and suggest new,
possibly clarifying avenues of research.
Many vitamin D experts advise that the currently recommended level of
vitamin D intake is much too low and should be raised to protect against
bone fractures and possibly cancer in addition to rickets (2). Indeed, even
using present guidelines, too many Americans have low vitamin D blood
levels. McCann & Ames propose that, despite uncertainty regarding all of the
deleterious effects of vitamin D inadequacy, the evidence overall indicates
that supplementation, which is both inexpensive and prudent, is warranted
for groups whose vitamin D status is exceptionally low, particularly nursing
infants, the elderly, and African Americans (e.g., see (3)). ..."
And that gets me wondering. The Albany Free School is able to help what are
often called AHDH kids to learn in a community, using a "play-based
curriculum" that involves supporting kids while they choose what they want
to do in the company of other child-aged learners as well as adults modeling
learning and healthy living in community.
"Teaching the Restless: One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to
Helping Children Learn and Succeed" by Chris Mercogliano
I have no doubt such a play-based curriculum is a good thing and better than
compulsory school for most kids. I love learner-directed education, where
public schools would become more like public libraries.
But, what if some of the magic with the kids labeled ADHD at the Albany Free
School is that, instead of getting Ritalin, that kids who have been labeled
are allowed to play outdoors in the sunlight a lot? Especially African
American kids in that more northern area of the USA who will struggle more
with getting enough Vitamin D at that lattitude? The Free School has an
outdoor courtyard at the school kids can use when they want, and they allow
kids to go to the nearby parks, plus they have some rural lands they go on
field trips too.
Could increasing Ritalin use be partially an ineffective response to Vitamin
D deficiency in kids, especially kids with darker skins?
I'm not suggesting Vitamin D is all of the issue (especially given what most
schools are). But, it might be part of it.
I don't see any search results of "Vitamin D" on John Taylor Gatto's site,
and one of the things he did was help kids get out of school more in
apprenticeships and internships, so perhaps another unexpected benefit:
"Underground History of American Education"
To be clear, even if Vitamin D supplements helped kids be part of a learning
community as much as being at the Free School play-based curriculum did, I
still would prefer the Free School model over most other schools, for those
who don't homeschool. :-) I should update my essay to include the Vitamin D
benefits of just giving public school money to parents to decide how to
spend it: :-)
"Towards a Post-Scarcity New York State of Mind (through homeschooling)"
Anyway, this Vitamin D issue may also be especially important to people who
spend too much time at their computers reading and writing emails. People
like me. :-)
"Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome"
Maybe ADHD should be renamed to stand for:
"A Deficiency of Helpful vitamin-D"? :-)
Anyway, I BCCd the Albany Free School's "questions" email as well as Chris
Mercogliano just so they know about this possible connection.
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