As I learn about the effects of reduced or influxed levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, GABA and glutamate, it's quite obvious that their levels have direct effect on how people feel.
So I wonder, is it easy to test these nerotransmitters, and if so why hasn't my doctor already done that? That way he could be certain of one issue or the other? I already expect a no or atleast why this isn't helpful, i am greatly interested in the "why?"
Jane, as usual, answered perfectly and concisely, but also, as usual, I can't resist tossing in my own two cents. Hopefully this will cover some of the why, in my own fuzzy, half understood layman style.
There are tests which measure neurotransmitter levels in urine, and you'll often see those peddled on the web as a way to diagnose neurotransmitter based disorders like ADHD. At the moment, however, there's no science to establish that neurotransmitter levels in urine are indicative of available levels of neurotransmitters in various parts of the brain.
It is possible to tap the Cerebrospinal fluid, but it's a risky procedure and isn't generally done unless your issue is life threatening. In addition, again, neurotransmitter levels in the spine or brain stem may not indicate accurately what levels are available in the prefrontal cortex, which is thought to be the seat of most types of ADHD. At this point, we simply don't know.
The problem, of course, is that it's difficult to do the science to find out how neurotransmitters are distributed in the brain and central nervous system, as finding out requires invasive testing that can cause catastrophic damage, which means that such tests are realistically, at this point, impossible. As such, we're limited to non-invasive testing, like the SPECT scans used by Dr. Daniel Amen to measure blood flow patterns in the brain in response to various stimuli. We can, of course, test on mice, etc. but animal tests are only useful to a point.
There has been huge progress made in ADHD diagnosis, treatment and awareness in the last 2 decades, but we still have a very long way to go in fully understanding brain chemistry.
The Following User Says Thank You to Thunor For This Useful Post: addprogrammer (01-13-2011)
A) As I learn about the effects of reduced or influxed levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, GABA and glutamate, it's quite obvious that their levels have direct effect on how people feel.
B) So I wonder, is it easy to test these nerotransmitters, and if so why hasn't my doctor already done that? That way he could be certain of one issue or the other? I already expect a no or atleast why this isn't helpful, i am greatly interested in the "why?"
On B) They easily measure neuro levels after cutting out rat brains. The detrimental effects on the rats is probably one of the reasons your doc hasn't ordered that test for you.
On A) Let's pseudocode the reference to a pointer (indirection) and read the property ...
Return = InsufficientNumOfSynapticConnections
The fix: Increase the number of synaptic connections.
We have a genetically predisposed biological weakness in the neuro network controlling the levels of "serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, GABA and glutamate" and many other neurotransmitter signals delivered to the attention controlling areas of the brain.
An indirect fix is to boost existing connections using powerful stimulants. Once we get the neurons firing they'll form more synaptic connections. "Neurons that fire together, wire together." In some cases, perhaps the majority, our indirect fix maybe the only practical fix. I don't know.
It is altogether possible, that the use of so-called natural supplements along with cognitive therapies designed to strengthen said system can turn the trick. It takes longer and takes more effort for sure.
I have on my conclusion team a number of leading researchers and the experience of many with ADHD in support of my ->ADHD.NeuralNetworkSystemDevelopment.Num OfSysnapticConnections < specs for a strongly functioning network
Start your search at Dr. Amen. He recommends supplements for different types of ADHD. Match your ADD then select recommended supplements.
Try it. You MAY like it. Otherwise, find a damn good shrink and put off your private aviation ambitions for a few years and, as I weep tears for you, commercial aviation forever.