Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Great Analysis for Laypeople About the Latest ADHD Study

Elisheva Hanna of Ragamuffin studies has written an analysis of a new study about ADHD and brain maturation:

It's Not Another Shot in the Ritalin Wars

If you have any interest in ADHD or even just if you are a parent who is around other children it would do you good to read this article. And of course all school teachers should read this.

First she says the media are not giving an accurate portrayal of what the study said.

"In other words, anatomy is not the whole story here.
And to be fair, it was not the authors who claimed that it was.
That would be the press and pundits and ideologues. In other words, those who either did not bother to read the study carefully or those who have an axe to grind when it comes to issues about AD/HD."

This is something I blogged about just a couple of weeks ago, the fact that often the journalists will not read a study or won’t understand it and will make errors in reporting the results to the public. You can read my blog post about that here:

Perhaps the Best College Course I Took

And just this week I blogged of a great radio talk show with Dr. Ronald Hoffman in which he analyses studies and explains them correctly to his listening (layperson) audience. You can read my blog post here

“America is Scientifically Illiterate”

Here is a bit that Elisheva wrote to summarize the study's findings which I found enlightening.

"So what did we find out from this study? We found out that part of the difference between kids with a diagnosis of ADHD and those without, is in the rate of brain maturation. Kids with AD/HD diagnoses (it was a mixed group of kids with primarily hyperactive, primarily inattentive and combined types) have brains in which the cortices mature more slowly, delayed by approximately 3 years, with a very significant p value. And we found out that in these kids, the brain development trajectory was the same for kids with and without ADHD.

But the researchers also analyzed the data for specific brain areas. And these tests showed that the trajectory of the brain development for all cortical areas was not identical. The kids with ADHD tended to have faster motor area maturation than those without. And they had slower executive function (frontal lobes!) maturation.
What does James Webb say of gifted kids? Farrari motor and dune buggy driver! It looks like the same developmental pattern is true for kids with ADHD."

Note: In case you are wondering, neither of my children have ADD or ADHD but the entire topic of it is something that interests me on several levels. One part of my interest is that I work with children in the Cub Scouting program so I interact and 'deal with' with all kinds of kids, some who present challenges to me and their peers.

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Patty said...

very interesting information. None of my children had ADD or ADHD but I know plenty that did. I am a mom of all grown children but we homeschooled for 17 years.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I am honored that you devoted some blog space to the ADHD study.

And I did read both of your recent posts--the one about the best college class you ever took and the more recent one about American scientific illiteracy. They were both really good.

AH, I can hardly wait until I am done with my coursework for the semester. I have about 12 more days...