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Article in the Wall Street Journal about ADHD meds and grades

Article in the Wall Street Journal about ADHD meds and grades2013-07-10T16:11:03+00:00

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    10 July, 2013 This article was posted today by the WSJ on their Facebook feed. It cites a study that concludes that Attention Deficit meds do NOT improve the long-term performance of ADHD kids in the classroom…


    (I hope the link works. Sometimes FB news-feed URLs don’t, when copied and pasted.) In any event, my kid has gone from classroom dud to academic star on Vyvance. I don’t know about anybody else’s experience.


    Post count: 169

    The difference that biphentin (long-acting methylphenidate) has made for my son’s school performance and ability to read has been incredible. Yes, this is anecdotal, but everyone (family and school) sees a huge shift, especially on those days where we forget.

    One way of interpreting the findings is that the medicine proves effective on immediate classroom behaviors like sitting still and interrupting the teacher less, but it doesn’t help with other factors important to successful completion of homework or test-taking, like family encouragement.

    I fail to see why the journalist/researchers would expect medicine to even have an effect on the latter. Especially when most long-acting doses are wearing off by late afternoon, when many kids get home from daycares.

    The problem with the article is that it questions the medications as if they are a CURE for ADHD, when they are simply another tool in the toolbox for dealing with its symptoms.

    The comment at the end mirrors my experience with Adderall; it helps tremendously with focusing but is indiscriminate about what I focus on. It is up to me to ensure that what I am doing is appropriate at the moment.

    Basically, medicines can help but do not eliminate the condition. Nothing does.

    Sometimes what researchers are focusing on seems like make-work projects.


    Post count: 445

    It’s just a curious finding. These results would seem to contradict considerable anecdotal evidence to the contrary. So what are ya gonna believe—your own experience or the conclusions of people who supposedly know what they’re talking about? In his book Wrong, David H. Freedman draws heavily on the work of John Ioannidis, a medical statistician who reviews medical research for accuracy. Ioannidis asserts that, eventually, two thirds of all medical research published in prestigious journals (i.e., the best of the best) turns out to be… mostly or flat-out wrong. In an article that appeared in The Atlantic a few years back (see below), Freedman discusses why this might be. So I’ll wait for at least one more team to duplicate these results before I accept the unnerving possibility that my own eyes have been deceiving me for years.


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