Sunday, January 29, 2012

Attention Deficit and Drug Treatment

Today's NYT Week in Review section started an article today with:

THREE million children in this country take drugs for problems in focusing. Toward the end of last year, many of their parents were deeply alarmed because there was a shortage of drugs like Ritalin and Adderall that they considered absolutely essential to their children’s functioning....

The article goes on to discuss the fact that:
1. These kids do have brains that show ADD symptons
2.  It's not clear that these kids have genetic predispositions or issues. It could be the environment.Probably is.
3. The well-documented short-term benefits are clearly no more than that. These drugs do show some short-term (3 years) performance and behavior improvement. But long term, all these benefits statistically melt away.