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Younger schoolchildren more likely to be falsely diagnosed with ADHD

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: ADHD, schoolchildren, health news

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(NaturalNews) Children born during the summer are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children born later in the school year, according to a study conducted by researchers from North Carolina State University and published in the Journal of Health Economics.

"What our research shows is that similar students have significantly different diagnosis rates depending on when their birthday falls in relation to the school year," said lead researcher Melinda Morrill.

The researchers found that children who had been born close to the cut-off date for admission to kindergarten (who would be among the youngest in their classes) were 25 percent more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis than children born just a few days later (who would start school a year later as the oldest in their classes).

There is no evidence that ADHD rates are actually higher among this group, the researchers said. Instead, it appears clear that younger children are more likely to be perceived as immature for their grade.

"This indicates that there are children who are diagnosed, or not, because of something other than underlying biological or medical reasons," Morrill said. "We believe that younger children may be mistakenly diagnosed as having ADHD, when in fact they are simply less mature."

The study gives new ammunition to critics who allege that overuse of the ADHD diagnosis has led to excessive drugging of children and the pathologization of childhood.

"If the forcing of the ADHD diagnosis and drugs can be justified, then why not do it for every other condition? After all, it is for the good of the child, right? " writes Fred A. Baughman, Jr. and Craig Hovey in The ADHD Fraud.

"The problem, of course, is that ... anything that disturbs adults in authority can be classified as a disease and parents threatened with the loss of their children if they don't go along with 'treatment.' Do any of us want this to happen, to witness childhood itself held hostage by drug pushers?"

Sources for this story include: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews....

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