Methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin) for executive function

Methylphenidate is one of the stimulant medications used mainly to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. The brand-name versions of the drug include Ritalin and Concerta. All the stimulant medications used to treat ADHD work by augmenting the activity of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine influences many cognitive processes, including executive function. But when methylphenidate has been tested as a treatment for older people with cognitive deficits, the results have been a mixed bag: some promising, some not so much, which leaves room for more research but hardly a clear path into everyday clinical practice. (Locked) More »

More on executive function: Six memory tips

It's normal for the ability to recall information to slow down as we get older. Your recall time won't necessarily improve, but if you cut yourself some slack and give your memory the time it needs to retrieve information, you'll often be able to access a memory that might seem lost at first. This is related to giving it time. If you get worked up about not being able to remember, the resulting anxiety may get in the way. Martha Weinman Lear makes this point nicely in her entertaining and informative book about normal memory loss, Where Did I Leave My Glasses? Organization doesn't improve memory but makes you less dependent on it. The logic of your system will guide you, so your overtaxed memory doesn't need to stumble through on its own. (Locked) More »

Cultivating your inner boss

Executive function is the part of our thinking that organizes, plans, decides, and inhibits inappropriate impulses. Healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising, controlling blood pressure, and getting enough sleep also work to preserve executive function. Avoiding excess stress and alcohol could probably be added to the list. Little has been said about keeping our executive functioning sharp. However, some of the common suggestions for memory preservation and enhancement are very much related to executive function and its various components. Here are a few examples: More »

Understanding migraine

Although migraines are notorious for causing pain, they've created a lot of confusion, too. We hope the answers to the six questions below will clear up a few misunderstandings and provide some useful information along the way.  (Locked) More »

Sleep apnea: Keeping up the positive pressure

Sleep apnea has been linked to many health problems. Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated effectively with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, though getting used to using it can be challenging. A large proportion — half, by some reckonings — of people who start CPAP quit within a year, and most of those gave up during the first four weeks. It's understandable that people would want to abandon a treatment that involves wearing a mask and being tethered to a machine while in bed. Moreover, all that air blowing through your nose can cause nasal congestion, which, at the very least, is uncomfortable and can defeat the entire purpose of CPAP, if the air necessary to open the airway is blocked by a clogged-up, congested nose. (Locked) More »

From our follow-up files

Further information about recently published articles on bowel prep before colon surgery, Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles, and the results of a study on platelet-rich plasma therapy. (Locked) More »