ADD and Ritalin

Alan J. Robinson robin073 at maroon.tc.umn.edu
Sun Sep 24 10:43:58 EST 1995


On Sat, 23 Sep 1995 00:04:31 GMT, 
Your Name Here   <@postoffice.ptd.net> wrote:

>> [Post] [Reply]
>> --------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>> Re: ADD and Ritalin
>> 
>> From: shufford at cctr.umkc.edu (S. Craig Hufford)
>> Date: 1995/09/03
>> 
>> MessageID: shufford-0309951141560001 at slip51.umkc.edu#1/1
>> --------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>> references: <sally-2608952124100001 at ts8-14.upenn.edu>
>> organization: University of Missouri-Kansas City
>> newsgroups: bionet.neuroscience
>> 
>> In article <sally-2608952124100001 at ts8-14.upenn.edu>,
>> sally at retina.anatomy.upenn.edu (Sally Shrom) wrote:
>> 
>> >Does anyone know exactly what is going wrong at the synapes of children or
>> >adults who have " attention deficit disorder"?  What does the drug Ritalin
>> >do in  the brain. I understand it is used to treat the disorder.
>> 
>> >   sally at retina.anatomy.upenn.edu
>> 

Normally drugs like methylphenidate (Ritalin) which are chemically 
related to amphetamine are stimulants because they increase 
norepinephrine.  However, many years ago it was discovered 
accidentally that in some patients these drugs had the paradoxical 
effect of calming them.

The most plausible explanation for this is that in disorders like ADD 
brain levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine 
fall to below normal levels, and the brain begins to behave 
erratically (like when the fluid level drops too low in a car's 
automatic transmission and it shifts erratically).  Drugs like 
methylphenidate act as indirect agonists, in that they stimulate the 
secretion of neurotransmitters from the presynaptic vesicles.  Thus 
the levels of the neurotransmitters can be returned to normal and 
everything is under control again.  

There are quite a few drugs which increase neurotramsitter activity, 
using several different mechanisms, so it is quite possible that the 
preference for methylphenidate is because of history as much as 
anything else.

AJR




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