February 2011

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2011.

The Holy Grail for many proponents of ADHD is establishing its ‘genetic basis’. The logic being that establishing a genetic basis for ADHD validates it as a psychiatric disorder. In September 2010 the world’s media buzzed with the news that British researcher’s had proven the genetic basis of ADHD. The psychiatrist who led the study, Cardiff University Professor Anita Thapar, proclaimed ‘now we can say with confidence that ADHD is a genetic disease.’[1]

Professor Thapar was wrong on two counts. Firstly despite the hype, Professor Thapar’s (et al) study did not establish a genetic basis for ADHD. Secondly and most importantly, if a genetic basis of ADHD is eventually established it will validate ADHD as a ‘genetic difference’ not a ‘genetic disease’.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

by Martin Whitely

In February 2010 a review of information from the Raine Study, a longitudinal study of the health and wellbeing of thousands of Western Australian children, provided the world’s first long term (8 year) data on the safety and efficacy of ADHD stimulants. It provided challenging evidence that amongst children diagnosed with ADHD those ‘medicated’ with stimulants had significantly worse outcomes than those ‘never medicated’. Specifically those ‘ADHD diagnosed and  medicated’ were 10.5 times more likely to be failing school than those ‘ADHD diagnosed and never medicated’. In addition the past use of stimulant medications was associated with permanently raised diastolic blood pressure.

Some of the authors of the ADHD data review (with a history of advocating the use of stimulants) were obviously expecting different results and tried to diminish the significance of its findings and revised their own methodology after results were in. Fortunately a robust committee process lead by a principled chairperson ensured the integrity of the review.

The Raine Study is a unique data source with the potential for further analysis. The ADHD medication review analysed the outcomes for the Raine Study children at age 14. A further six years of data (at ages 17 and  20) has now been collected. Whether this rich data source will be utilised, and who will do the analysis (and can they be trusted), are all questions that are yet to be answered.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

The major theme to emerge from the two day forum was that there is a growing body of evidence that the long term use of ADHD medications by children provides no benefits and poses significant risks to growing minds and bodies. Forum participants were also concerned this evidence is being ignored and that the application of the over-simplified, dumbed down, ‘ADHD’ label denies children appropriate individualised responses to their unique circumstances.

The two top priorities identified by the forum were:

1 – The redevelopment of the draft national guidelines on ADHD by a group of mental health experts without commercial ties to the pharmaceutical industry who will ignore commercially tainted evidence and incorporate the emerging evidence of long term harm into their deliberations. (refer to One Year on From the Release of the National ADHD Guidelines)

2 – Urgent action to address the disproportionate use of psychotropic drugs by children in the care of the state (in either foster or institutional care). There is significant evidence that these often previously abused children are being ‘medicated’ with a range of psychotropic drugs as a substitute for safer, more effective, individualised interventions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,