Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Diamox & Bumetanide, Ion Channels Nav1.4 and Cav1.1, HypoPP, Autism and Seizures

Today’s post links together subjects that have been covered previously.

It does suggest that there are multiple therapies that may be effective in the large sub-group of autism that is characterized by the neurotransmitter GABA being excitatory (E) rather than inhibitory (I).  The science was covered in the earlier very complicated post:-

The growing list of potential therapies is:-

·        Bumetanide (awaiting funding for Stage 3 clinical trials in humans)
·        Micro-dose Clonazepam (trials in mouse models of autism)
·        Diamox (off-label use in autism)
·        Potassium Bromide  - to be covered in a later post (in use for 150 years)

Not surprisingly, all of these drugs also have an effect on certain types of seizure.

The optimal therapy in people with this E/I imbalance will likely be a combination of some of the above.

Periodic paralysis

Periodic paralysis (Hypokalemic periodic paralysis or HypoPP) is a rare condition that causes temporary paralysis that can be reversed by taking potassium.  A similar condition is hypokalemic sensory overload, when someone becomes overwhelmed by lights or sounds, but after taking potassium all goes back to normal. Autistic sensory overload, experienced by most people with autism, can also be reduced by potassium.

Though rare, we know that HypoPP is caused by dysfunction in the ion channels Nav1.4 and/or Cav1.1.

For decades one of the treatments for HypoPP has been a diuretic called Diamox/Acetazolamide.

Other treatments include raising potassium levels using supplements or potassium sparing diuretics.

Bumetanide is a diuretic, but rather than raising potassium levels, it does the opposite.  So I always thought it was odd that bumetanide would have a positive effect on HypoPP.  But the research showed a benefit.

Autism and Channelopathies

We know that autism and epilepsy are associated with various ion channel and transporter dysfunctions (channelopathies).  In a recent post I was talking about Cav1.1 to Cav1.4.

Today we are talking about Cav1.1 and Nav1.4.

We know that Nav1.1 is associated with epilepsy and some autism (Dravet syndrome).

Nav1.4 is expressed at high levels in adult skeletal muscle, at low levels in neonatal skeletal muscle, and not at all in brain

Nav1.1 expression increases during the third postnatal week and peaks at the end of the first postnatal month, after which levels decrease by about 50% in the adult.

We saw with calcium channels that a dysfunction in one of Cav1.1 to Cav1.4 can cause a dysfunction in another dysfunction in another one of Cav1.1 to Cav1.4.

We also so that in autism the change in expression of NKCC1 and KCC2 as the brain matures failed to occur and so in effect they remain immature and therefore malfunction.

So it is plausible that sodium channels may also malfunction in a similar way. 

Hypokalemic periodic paralysis (hypoPP) is an autosomal dominant neuromuscular disorder characterized by episodes of flaccid skeletal muscle paralysis accompanied by reduced serum potassium levels. It is caused by mutations in one of two sarcolemmal ion channel genes, CACNA1S and SCN4A1-3 that lead to dysfunction of the dihydropyridine receptor or the alpha sub-unit of the skeletal muscle voltage gated sodium channel Nav1.4. Seventy to eighty percent of cases are caused by mutations of CACNA1S and ten percent by mutations of SCN4A4. 

There are no consensus guidelines for the treatment of hypoPP. Current pharmacological agents commonly used include potassium supplements, potassium sparing diuretics and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (acetazolamide and dichlorphenamide). Dichlorphenamide is the only therapy for hypoPP to have undergone a randomized double blind placebo controlled cross over trial. This trial showed a significant efficacy of dichlorphenamide in reducing attack frequency but the inclusion criteria were based on clinical diagnosis of hypoPP and not genetic confirmation.


Cav1.1 also known as the calcium channel, voltage-dependent, L type, alpha 1S subunit, (CACNA1S), is a protein which in humans is encoded by the CACNA1S gene


Sodium channel protein type 4 subunit alpha is a protein that in humans is encoded by the SCN4A gene.

The Nav1.4 voltage-gated sodium channel is encoded by the SCN4A gene. Mutations in the gene are associated with hypokalemic periodic paralysis, hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, paramyotonia congenita, and potassium-aggravated myotonia.


Ranolazine is an antianginal and anti-ischemic drug that is used in patients with chronic angina. Ranzoline blocks Na+ currents of Nav1.4. Both muscle and neuronal Na+ channels are as sensitive to ranolazine block as their cardiac counterparts. At its therapeutic plasma concentrations, ranolazine interacts predominantly with the open but not resting or inactivated Na+ channels. Ranolazine block of open Na+ channels is via the conserved local anesthetic receptor albeit with a relatively slow on-rate.

Muscle channelopathies:does the predicted channel gating pore offer new treatment insights for hypokalaemic periodic paralysis?

Beneficial effects of bumetanide in a CaV1.1-R528H mouse model of hypokalaemic periodic paralysis
Transient attacks of weakness in hypokalaemic periodic paralysis are caused by reduced fibre excitability from paradoxical depolarization of the resting potential in low potassium. Mutations of calcium channel and sodium channel genes have been identified as the underlying molecular defects that cause instability of the resting potential. Despite these scientific advances, therapeutic options remain limited. In a mouse model of hypokalaemic periodic paralysis from a sodium channel mutation (NaV1.4-R669H), we recently showed that inhibition of chloride influx with bumetanide reduced the susceptibility to attacks of weakness, in vitro. The R528H mutation in the calcium channel gene (CACNA1S encoding CaV1.1) is the most common cause of hypokalaemic periodic paralysis. We developed a CaV1.1-R528H knock-in mouse model of hypokalaemic periodic paralysis and show herein that bumetanide protects against both muscle weakness from low K+ challenge in vitro and loss of muscle excitability in vivo from a glucose plus insulin infusion. This work demonstrates the critical role of the chloride gradient in modulating the susceptibility to ictal weakness and establishes bumetanide as a potential therapy for hypokalaemic periodic paralysis arising from either NaV1.4 or CaV1.1 mutations.

Mode of action

The research does state that nobody knows why Diamox is effective in many cases of hypoPP.

My reading of the research has already taken me in a different direction.  While researching the GABAA receptor that is dysfunctional in some autism, it occurred to me that in addition to targeting the NKCC1 receptor with bumetanide, another way of lowering chloride levels within the cells might well exist.

I suggested in an earlier post that Diamox could be used to target the AE3 exchanger.

What Diamox (acetazolamide) does is lower the pH of the blood in the following way.

Acetazolamide is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, hence causing the accumulation of carbonic acid Carbonic anhydrase is an enzyme found in red blood cells that catalyses the following reaction:

hence lowering blood pH, by means of the following reaction that carbonic acid undergoes

In doing so there will be an effect on both AE3 and NDAE, below.  This will change the intracellular concentration of Cl-, and hence give a similar result to bumetanide.

This would also explain the phenomenon cited below that pH affects the excitability of the brain.

Over excitability of the brain is the cause of some of the effects seen as autism and clearly Over excitability of the brain will be the cause of some people’s seizures/epilepsy.

Not surprisingly, then one of the uses of Diamox is to avoid seizures.


Anion exchanger 3 (AE3) in autism

Anion exchange protein 3 is a membrane transport protein that in humans is encoded by the SLC4A3 gene. It exchanges chloride for bicarbonate ions.  It increases chloride concentration within the cell.  AE3 is an anion exchanger that is primarily expressed in the brain and heart

Its activity is sensitive to pH. AE3 mutations have been linked to seizures

Bicarbonate (HCO3-) transport mechanisms are the principal regulators of pH in animal cells. Such transport also plays a vital role in acid-base movements in the stomach, pancreas, intestine, kidney, reproductive organs and the central nervous system.


Chloride influx through GABA-gated Cl channels, the principal mechanism for inhibiting neural activity in the brain, requires a Cl gradient established in part by K+–Cl cotransporters (KCCs). We screened for Caenorhabditis elegans mutants defective for inhibitory neurotransmission and identified mutations in ABTS-1, a Na+-driven Cl–HCO3 exchanger that extrudes chloride from cells, like KCC-2, but also alkalinizes them. While animals lacking ABTS-1 or the K+–Cl cotransporter KCC-2 display only mild behavioural defects, animals lacking both Cl extruders are paralyzed. This is apparently due to severe disruption of the cellular Cl gradient such that Cl flow through GABA-gated channels is reversed and excites rather than inhibits cells. Neuronal expression of both transporters is upregulated during synapse development, and ABTS-1 expression further increases in KCC-2 mutants, suggesting regulation of these transporters is coordinated to control the cellular Cl gradient. Our results show that Na+-driven Cl–HCO3 exchangers function with KCCs in generating the cellular chloride gradient and suggest a mechanism for the close tie between pH and excitability in the brain.


During early development, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) depolarizes and excites neurons, contrary to its typical function in the mature nervous system. As a result, developing networks are hyperexcitable and experience a spontaneous network activity that is important for several aspects of development. GABA is depolarizing because chloride is accumulated beyond its passive distribution in these developing cells. Identifying all of the transporters that accumulate chloride in immature neurons has been elusive and it is unknown whether chloride levels are different at synaptic and extrasynaptic locations. We have therefore assessed intracellular chloride levels specifically at synaptic locations in embryonic motoneurons by measuring the GABAergic reversal potential (EGABA) for GABAA miniature postsynaptic currents. When whole cell patch solutions contained 17–52 mM chloride, we found that synaptic EGABA was around −30 mV. Because of the low HCO3 permeability of the GABAA receptor, this value of EGABA corresponds to approximately 50 mM intracellular chloride. It is likely that synaptic chloride is maintained at levels higher than the patch solution by chloride accumulators. We show that the Na+-K+-2Cl cotransporter, NKCC1, is clearly involved in the accumulation of chloride in motoneurons because blocking this transporter hyperpolarized EGABA and reduced nerve potentials evoked by local application of a GABAA agonist. However, chloride accumulation following NKCC1 block was still clearly present. We find physiological evidence of chloride accumulation that is dependent on HCO3 and sensitive to an anion exchanger blocker. These results suggest that the anion exchanger, AE3, is also likely to contribute to chloride accumulation in embryonic motoneurons.


So the science does confirm that “chloride accumulation following NKCC1 block was still clearly present”.  This means that bumetanide is likely only a partial solution.

We also see that “anion exchanger, AE3, is also likely to contribute to chloride accumulation in embryonic motoneurons” and “that chloride accumulation that is dependent on HCO3”.

This is a subject of some research, but it is still early days.

I suggest that Diamox, via its effect on HCO3, may affect anion exchanger AE3 and further reduce chloride accumulation within cells.  This may have a further cumulative effect on GABA.

As we saw earlier, bumetanide does indeed shift GABA from excitatory to inhibitory in people who neurons remain in an immature state (like those of a typical two week old baby).  To my surprise, the use of micro-dose Clonazepam, as proposed by Professor Catterall, but in addition to Bumetanide, has a further effect on GABA’s excitatory/inhibitory imbalance.

Taken together this would highlight the possible further benefit of Diamox.

Normal blood pH is tightly regulated between 7.35 and 7.45.  I do wonder if perhaps in some people with autism, the pH of their blood is slightly elevated (alkaline), this would contribute to excitability of the brain.

Since Diamox increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, I further wonder if this additional oxygen may also be beneficial in some cases.  Since some people are adamant that hypobaric oxygen therapy has beneficial (although not sustained) effects in autism, surely a better treatment would be Diamox?

Since the body is controlled via so-called feedback loops, perhaps in a small subset of people with autism who respond to extra O2, they actually have blood pH that is higher than 7.45.  In which case measuring blood pH would be a biomarker of who would respond to hypobaric oxygen therapy.  Not surprisingly then, trials of hypobaric oxygen therapy in autism fail, because most of the trial subjects do not have elevated blood pH.
So there are many reasons that Diamox should be trialed in autism.  I did find one (DAN) doctor currently using it, but they do not really explain why.

Biomedical Treatment of the Young Adult with ASD

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

ASD variants - (mis and missed) diagnoses. Calcium ion channel dysfunctions Cav1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4

This post serves to introduce some ideas relevant to a post that is will shortly arrive on calcium ion channel dysfunctions (Cav1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4).

As we have seen, nearly all behavioral and psychiatric disorders are just diagnosed based on observation.  Only in very rare cases is the underlying biological problem diagnosed.  So it is fair to say that these are not accurate medical diagnoses.

Under the wide umbrella term of ASD are likely hundreds of thousands of  discrete variants, since ASD generally results from the combination of multiple hits/dysfunctions.  A single one of these dysfunctions is usually not enough to trigger autism, but some may indeed trigger something else noticeable.  A small number of individual hits, like Fragile-X and Retts can trigger autism, but these are the exception.

Mis and Missed diagnoses

One reader of this blog received a diagnosis for his child as “late onset regressive autism or possible childhood disintegrative disorder”.  Neither of these options is very good, since you are talking about an entirely typical child who, after the age of four, begins to regress and lose his acquired skills.

After a long struggle, he found the biological diagnosis, which is mitochondrial disease.  After a few months of the Richard Kelley (from Johns Hopkins), therapy the regression was halted and now new skills are again being acquired.

This is another example of how unacceptable simple observational diagnoses are.  What would have happened if the reader had not stumbled upon this blog and then later sought out help from the leading experts (just look on my Dean’s list)?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is very commonly diagnosed in the US, much more so than in other countries.  More severe cases of ADHD look much like ASD, which is why I call them autism-lite.

Another group of ADHD may indeed be purely behavioral – too much time with smart phones, iPads and video games.  This is supported by the fact that the data on incidence of ADHD shows that a large group of children with ADHD, “grow out of it”, or were misdiagnosed in the first place.

However, it does look like there is another group of ADHD which is biological, but may be different to autism.  On this subject I will bring you the comments of Dr. Manuel Casanova, a neurologist and along with that, thoughtful and knowledgeable about autism. 

Then we have the recurring clinical trials on high EPA/DHA fish oil, which really do show an effect in most trials in ADHD, but fail in most trials in autism.  This will be developed further in the later post on calcium channels.  The suggested view is that either the vitamin A, or the omega 3 oil, is somehow helping and even perhaps some people have a problem absorbing some types of vitamin A.  I was always unconvinced by this. 

However, it has now been shown that the EPA in fish oil has an effect on certain L-type calcium channels.  If you had a mild dysfunction (channelopathy) of one of the L-type calcium channels, then a big enough dose of EPA might have an effect on them.  This becomes more interesting when you learn that some doctors in the US think that dyslexia is another autism-lite.

One suggested cause of dyslexia is visual deficit that makes reading difficult, but it also accompanied by a difficulty seeing in the dark.  This night blindness is known to be caused by vitamin A deficiency (or an inability to absorb it properly) and also by an ion channel dysfunction in Cav1.4.

It appears that the high EPA fish oil would increase vitamin A and also affect the function of Cav1.4.  The calcium ion channel Ca1.4 is widely expressed in your eyes.

Another interesting point is that it is thought that a dysfunction in one type of Calcium channel will often affect the function of others.  This is important because when you look at the effect of dysfunctions in these channels you will a listing including:-

·        Autism (Timothy Sydrome)
·        Mood disorder
·        Depression
·        Bipolar

As well as things like

·        Night blindness
·        Heart defects (Timothy Sydrome)

We also should note that many people (without autism) with sight problems claim improvement from taking high EPA fish oil.


Dyslexia is the most common learning disability. It affects about 3 to 7 percent of people. While it is diagnosed more often in males, some believed it affects males and females equally. Up to 20 percent of the population may have some degree of symptoms

Dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) commonly occur together; about 15 percent of people with dyslexia also have ADHD and 35 percent of those with ADHD have dyslexia.

The causes appear to be genetic and epigenetic. For example the gene KIAA0319

People usually think of dyslexia only in children, but that may be because many adults do not read very much.  Or do they "grow out of it".


“It affects about 6–7% of children when diagnosed via the DSM-IV criteria and 1–2% when diagnosed via the ICD-10 criteria.  Rates are similar between countries and depend mostly on how it is diagnosed. ADHD is diagnosed approximately three times more in boys than in girls. About 30–50% of people diagnosed in childhood continue to have symptoms into adulthood.”

So it would seem that most people “grow out” of ADHD 

Dr. Manuel Casanova

Dr. Manuel Casanova is a neurologist and along with that is clever, thoughtful and knowledagable about autism.  He looks at measurable anatomical differences and how these may be related to behaviour.  So he is more into the consequences of unchangeable differences in brains.

If you start looking at ion channels and transporters as being key drivers in behaviour then you have the chance to make alterations.  We saw that the same applies to fine tuning the function and indeed structure of key neurotransmitter receptors.

In lay terms, Manuel is showing how brains are indeed “hardwired” differently in many cases of autism, ADHD and even dyslexia.  This might reinforce the old view that really it is “case closed” and nothing more can be done.

However the really clever scientists looking in greater depth show us that notwithstanding some structural variation, much of the problem lies in the aspects of the brain that can be modified and indeed some are constantly in a state of change, for example the shape of dendritric spines and indeed the very substructure of those  GABAA receptors.

He groups dyslexia with ADHD and sees them as fundamentally different to autsim.  Having said that, Manuel tells us that attention disorders may be found in close to 30% of autistic individuals

 He has his own blog.

I suggest you read his full article, but here are some excerpts:-

“Claiming that there is comorbidity across neurodevelopmental disorders based on a single behavioral symptom negates many aspects of the individuality of each condition. In this regard, there are marked differences in the cognitive styles of dyslexic or ADHD individuals and those within the autism spectrum. Dyslexics enjoy a top-down cognitive style, tend to be holistically-oriented and have a gestalt processing bias (e.g., they see the forest but lose track of the individual trees). They are considered to have strong central coherence and excel in synthesizing sensory or cognitive experiences. Individuals within the autism spectrum enjoy a bottom-up cognitive style which makes them detail-oriented. Thus, contrary to dyslexic/ADHD subjects, ASD individuals see the tree but tend to lose sight of the forrest. In addition, they have a local processing bias with weak central coherence and appear to be good analyzers.”

“The above related differences in cognitive style appear to have anatomical correlates. As compared to neurotypicals, dyslexics tend to have smaller brain volumes with a concomitant striking increase in the size of their corpus callosum (the white matter projections that join homologous areas in both cerebral hemispheres). In addition, they have a simplification of their convolutional pattern and their cortical modules for information processing (minicolumns) are wider than expected. We find completely the opposite in patients within the autism spectrum.”

Yet more labels

Since we will be looking at calcium channels and one thing that does affect them is EPA, we should look at another label, dyspraxia, which also is reportedy  affected by fatty acids.
Fatty Acids in Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and the Autistic Spectrum

What is Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) ?

Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental coordination disorder (DCD), is is a chronic neurological disorder beginning in childhood that can affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body.

People with developmental coordination disorder sometimes have difficulty moderating the amount of sensory information that their body is constantly sending them, so as a result dyspraxics are prone to sensory overload and panic attacks.
Many dyspraxics struggle to distinguish left from right, even as adults, and have extremely poor sense of direction generally.

Moderate to extreme difficulty doing physical tasks is experienced by some dyspraxics, and fatigue is common because so much extra energy is expended while trying to execute physical movements correctly. Some (but not all) dyspraxics suffer from hypotonia, low muscle tone, which like DCD can detrimentally affect balance.

Gross motor control

Whole body movement, motor coordination, and body image issues mean that major developmental targets including walking, running, climbing and jumping can be affected. The difficulties vary from person to person and can include the following:

  • Poor timing
  • Poor balance (sometimes even falling over in mid-step). Tripping over one's own feet is also common.
  • Difficulty combining movements into a controlled sequence.
  • Difficulty remembering the next movement in a sequence.
  • Problems with spatial awareness, or proprioception.
  • Some people with developmental coordination disorder have trouble picking up and holding onto simple objects such as pencils, owing to poor muscle tone and/or proprioception.
  • This disorder can cause an individual to be clumsy to the point of knocking things over and bumping into people accidentally.
  • Some people with developmental coordination disorder have difficulty in determining left from right.
  • Cross-laterality, ambidexterity, and a shift in the preferred hand are also common in people with developmental coordination disorder.
  • Problems with chewing foods.

Fine motor control

Fine-motor problems can cause difficulty with a wide variety of other tasks such as using a knife and fork, fastening buttons and shoelaces, cooking, brushing one's teeth, styling one's hair, shaving, applying cosmetics, opening jars and packets, locking and unlocking doors, and doing housework.

Difficulties with fine motor co-ordination lead to problems with handwriting, which may be due to either ideational or ideo-motor difficulties. Problems associated with this area may include:
  • Learning basic movement patterns.
  • Developing a desired writing speed.
  • Establishing the correct pencil grip
  • The acquisition of graphemes – e.g. the letters of the Latin alphabet, as well as numbers.

Associated disorders

People who have developmental coordination disorder may also have one or more of these co-morbid problems:

Dysjustabouteverything (DJE)

If you consider the early years of classic autism, you will see that, in many cases, it includes all of the above disorders, even hypertonia.

But some people are otherwise pretty much typical/normal, are diagnosed with a single disorder like dyscalculia.

The problem is that these are all just observational diagnoses.  Does something biological underlie and connect them?  I think it does.

An autistic person’s struggles with mathematics may be more to do with a problem of understanding the language used to explain it.  This is why, in many cases, they struggle to move beyond counting.  Special methods of teaching maths have been created for such people, but they only take you to an elementary level.

If you have Asperger’s, you have no problem with the language used to explain the concepts or to frame the questions.  Some people with Asperger’s excel at mathematics.

The same is true for dysgraphia, autistic people tend to have very scruffy handwriting, but does this mean that they have dysgraphia? 

Hypotonia is an interesting one.  Many parents report low muscle tone and indeed DAN doctors actually treat it (apparently with Creatine).  I think hypotonia, if present in autism, is likely to be connected to the disruption in the various growth factors that has occurred and this itself may related to GABAB dysfunctions. (I mentioned this connection in an earlier post).  In Monty, aged 11 with ASD, when he was a baby he had Hypertonia.  He was big and all muscle.  As he got older he slid down from the 80-90Th percentile to the 20th percentile.  This fits one very distinct pattern of classic autism.

In the case of Monty, almost all the earlier signs of Dysjustabouteverything have now vanished.  Is this always the case?  Why would that happen in some people and not others?  Did his Polypill interventions play a role?

To investigate

What we need to know is whether there is a common link between all these various “dys-disorders”.

Probably in some (mis/over-diagnosed) people there is no link; but in others there may well be.

In some people there really is a link.  I did not tell you that my old “favourite”, hypokalemic periodic paralysis (HPP), can be caused by a Cav1.1 dysfunction.  HPP-lite is something called hypokalemic sensory overload.  In a little experiment I demonstrated that autistic sensory overload can be just hypokalemic sensory overload.  You just need 250 mg of potassium and a disturbing noise or light to illustrate it.  This is also a symptom of what they call Dyspraxia.

So Cav1.1 associates with HPP (hypokalemic periodic paralysis) and by my inference, sensory overload and some hypotonia;  Cav1.2 associates directly with autism (Timothy Syndrome) and bipolar; Cav1.3 associates with mood disorders, depression, bipolar; Cav1.4 associates with night blindness and perhaps some dyslexia.
A dysfunction in one L-type channel (Cav1.1, Cav1.2, Cav1.3 and Cav1.4) can apparently cause dysfunction in the others.  This surprised me.

So if you have autism, is not surprising if you appear afraid of the dark, feel depressed, experience sensory overload and are not very muscular.

The good news is that much of this appears to be treatable.

For the scientists among you:-


Voltage-dependent L-type calcium channel subunit beta-2 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the CACNB2 gene

I did forget to remind readers that I see the label schizophrenia as just another name for adult onset autism.

So it is no surprise that adults with autism have a 22 times higher chance of also being diagnosed with schizophrenia compared to non-ASD people.  Note bipolar, OCD etc; and this does not include all those adults with autism who get forgotten.


I am not suggesting “medicalizing” people with dyslexia, or indeed most with ADHD. 
However, it might be useful for somebody affected to know if Cav1.1 to 1.4 were dysfunctional, then at critical moments, like exam time at school, you could indeed give them some extra help.

People with dyslexia, and I presume other “dys-disorders” do often get given extra time at school for exams.  People with ADHD are often entitled to financial benefits in developed countries, and it has been suggested that these countries are the ones with high incidence of diagnosis.  In the US 11% of children and 4.4% of adults have a diagnosis.   ADHD has been medicalized in the U.S. since the 1960s.  In the UK, 3.62% of boys and 0.85% of girls have an ADHD diagnosis.  In France less than 0.5% of children are taking medication for ADHD.

Here is a nice quote:-

Why Are ADHD Rates 20 Times Higher in the U.S. Than in  France?

“it makes perfect sense to me that French children don't need medications to control their behavior because they learn self-control early in their lives. The children grow up in families in which the rules are well-understood, and a clear family hierarchy is firmly in place.

In French families, as Druckerman describes them, parents are firmly in charge of their kids—instead of the American family style, in which the situation is all too often vice versa.”

In the case of ADHD, it looks like the French have got it right; but not sadly for autism.

Knowing many different nationalities, I can certainly confirm that French parenting is much tougher than the UK or US variety.  The UK variety is very similar to the US, but without the liberal use of drugs for ADHD or indeed autism.

In tough cases of ADHD, that even French parenting cannot control, perhaps it really is a calcium channelopathy.  Perhaps in these cases a mild calcium channel blocker like fish oil, or indeed Olive Leaf Extract may be potent enough, so you could use these daily without the need for any prescription medication.

In any case, Verapamil, if shown effective, looks a much safer bet than the usual ADHD stimulants like Ritalin.  If your ADHD was caused by calcium channel dysfunction, it would likely later appear elsewhere in your body; all those years on stimulants would not have helped you.

Recall that Verapamil can also be effective in bipolar.