I have an undergraduate degree in Business Management from Pepperdine University. Prior to this school, I studied Mechanical Engineering, and also worked as engineer in manufacturing. Several months shy of completion my undergraduate degree in Engineering, I had to leave my school. In a word, I am a diploma-less engineer, with experience.During the last 15-20 years I was studying the feet and the inner ear. Both subject matters are infinitely complex and profoundly influential in our lives, much more so than appears at first glance. The inner ear houses the organ of balance, and is acting as the central hub for all sensory input. It acts as the pre-processing organ of sensory information for the brain.After my long research I can now explain the origins of ADD/ADHD by connecting changes in our physical environment with our feet and the inner ear, and provide solutions for those problems. I know all this sounds odd, but if you follow my explanation you will see all these pieces do fit together and actually make sense.My perspective is very unusual. It was formed when my experience in mechanics and engineering were dipped into various medical disciplines. As you will see, sometimes solutions come from very unexpected places.ADD/ADHD has been puzzling medical and scientific world for decades. No one seems to know their origins, what causes them, or how exactly to treat them. Many different things were tried with little success. To this day, ADD/ADHD remains as elusive today as it was fifty years ago.If I was a medical doctor I probably would’ve followed the crowd of other doctors and make no progress in the matter. But, as luck would have it, I’m not a doctor. This allows me to ask questions other doctors would never even think about, for they would be so off the wall. I think that because I’m not a doctor helped me to see things from very unusual perspectives.Prominent scholars in Business teach that if we can’t find solutions through the usual channels, we shall find them through unusual channels. For that we need to be naive enough not to know that what we are trying to do is impossible. And we must also be brave enough to accept the world around us from new and unknown perspectives.Without further ado, let me start by listing some facts we know to be true:
Brain works faster during crises.
Challenging balance activities cause the brains to work faster, in the similar way as though the person took chemical stimulants.
Unless we use certain capabilities from early age, later in life they might become hard to acquire, e.g. language, muscles & joints, and balance. If we don’t use them, we lose them.
Just 40 years ago people preferred leather shoes as their primary daily footwear for all ages. Sneakers were used mostly for sporting activities.
Today, babies start wearing sneakers even before they learn to walk. Children grow up wearing sneakers as their primary footwear from childhood to college.
Sneakers, through special design and materials, have excellent traction and stability on the ground; and these qualities are superior to those of the leather-bottom shoes.
Kids now can only run during their physical education class, under controlled settings. This is essentially the only place where kids can now run at full speed.
Current safety measures, such as anti-slip tape, restrictions to run inside the school and on the schoolyard, plus more stable footwear (sneakers), reduce the frequency of slip-and-fall incidents.
The function of integration of sensory information is directly influenced by the stimulation (vestibular stimulation) of the organ of balance. The organ of balance in the inner ear receives this stimulation through challenging balance conditions. When you downgrade the challenge in balance conditions, you reduce vestibular stimulation. The reduction of vestibular stimulation lowers its effect on the integration of sensory information, processed by the inner ear.Let me illustrate. When you are rollerblading or skateboarding, the challenge level for balance skills is high. This increased balance challenge creates vestibular stimulation. Vestibular stimulation, in turn, makes the eyes see better, ears hear better, the sense of touch gets better. While skateboarding, guys and girls see and react to the smallest changes on the road surface. They hear their surroundings better, and they have more control over their body because of increased performance of their sense of proprioception (sense of body motion.) They are wide awake, fully alert, feel in control, and feel one with their environment.Put these skateboarders in the classroom, and after 30 minutes they will be falling asleep. They will feel foreign to the classroom environment, and everything that is going on in the class will make no sense to them. Their hearing will become dull, and their eyes will not be as sharp. They will start getting into conversations with someone during the class, or they will be fidgeting on their chairs. Somebody might start scratching his scalp and become amused at the falling dandruff. Others will start drawing pictures on their hands and arms. They will pay no attention to the teacher, or anyone else for that matter. In other words, they will exhibit typical signs of ADD/ADHD symptoms. But just 30 minutes ago, on their skateboards they were on top of the world.This applies to those low bicycles for stunts, and for those who play soccer in the field, and to those who play basketball, and tennis. On the field and on the court many kids and adults feel complete and in control. Remove that vestibular stimulation and you remove all those extra-sensory experiences, their level of alertness, and their ability to pay attention to their environment.While improving safety, we neglect to assess the unintended consequences. Today, from the time babies start walking, they rarely slip and fall. They may fall for a number of other reasons, but usually not from slipping. They are more likely to trip over the front of the shoe stuck on the floor, than to fall because the shoe slipped.) Thanks to sneakers’ excellent traction, babies and children don’t develop higher level of alertness against their feet losing ground due to slipping. Compared to leather-bottom shoes, sneaker grip the ground securely.Collective safety measures promote the decline in level of alertness, which is required from the brain in order to deal with more challenging balance conditions. The safety measures reduce the flow of challenging balance conditions, and with it, reduce the brain’s base speed.You might remember how schools used to polish and buff their floors. You start running, pick up some speed and then slide for 10-15 feet. That was fun. And that fun created its own dance move, Twist. Do you remember how quick-witted children and adults were in the ’50s? At that time, many wore real leather shoes. That seemingly tiny element, changed the culture and introduced new problems for us to solve.We take our problems to the doctor. The doctor is trained to recognize symptoms and prescribe chemistry to treat the problem. Remember, the early doctors were those who mixed different potions; they were chemists. Modern doctors are also chemists, for they treat most problems through chemistry.With each passing year, we improve our desire for maximum comfort, maximum sitting, and maximum protection against slip and fall incidents. With each passing year we teach our brains to get by on slower processing speed. With the idle speed slower, it becomes difficult to keep focused and pay attention.
Balance is the first sensory organ that develops in the fetus. After only 17 weeks from conception, the organ of balance is fully developed and is functioning.From childhood to college, we wear sneakers, and we are lowering our brains’ necessity to deal with challenging balance conditions. Why? Compared to leather-bottom shoes, sneakers provide excellent traction and foot stability on the ground. (Try to dance twist in your sneakers…) Before the widespread use of sneakers, no other daily footwear provided our feet with the same high level of traction and stability as sneakers do now.As you can see, it is possible, to view what is currently a medical problem, as a physics problem. Physics problems are better resolved via physics, not via chemistry. The school uniform will include leather-bottom shoes. That could be the formal wingtip, or the cowboy style boots or shoes.There will be more scraped knees, but isn’t that the essential part of growing up? Kids need to learn to appreciate, based on their own experiences, good balance, reliable footing, and not take them for granted. They need to walk measuring each step, for any step could cause the foot to slip. This has been the way people lived from the beginning of time. Nobody, ever, was as sure in his/her step as we are today, wearing sneakers. Take away from the child the need to be cautious, and you take away half of what he or she can become, if only given a chance.Now you know my take on how the brain gets slower, and why we get more and more cases with ADD/ADHD. Now you can understand why so many researchers claim that they don’t know exactly how ADD/ADHD works. How can they know when they are trying to treat a physics problem with chemistry?I invite you to do your own research: observe the behavior and grades of kids who wear leather bottom shoes, then compare your data to the data from kids who wear sneakers. Post what you find in the comments.Not all ADD/ADHD cases are the same. Some might truly require chemical intervention. But before you put your kid on pills, give him or her one month in leather shoes. Will you?