Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Crazy News Article About ADHD

Here's yet  another article that should be perfect for my new journal Stupid Studies and Even Stupider Headlines. (This is the companion journal to my other journal, Duh! The Journal of Obvious Results).

An article in Health Day on June 14, 2011 carried the headline,  Too Little Sleep in Preschool Years May Predict ADHD: Study suggests link between behavior in kindergarten and sleep loss earlier in life. 

In this case, the study being described has not yet even made it into a journal, which means no peer review has yet taken place.  It is going to presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  No peer review.  On the other hand, according to fellow blogger the Last Psychiatrist (TLP), peer review these days is about equal to proofreading.  Still, Health Day was jumping the gun a bit, no?  Why? 

The authors of the study reported, "Children who were reported to sleep less in preschool were rated by their parents as more hyperactive and less attentive compared to their peers at kindergarten." However, inattention and hyperactivity in the preschool years was not a predictor of sleep duration in kindergarten, the researchers added.

Their conclusion: "These findings suggest that some children who are not getting adequate sleep may be at risk for developing behavioral problems manifested by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and problems sitting still and paying attention."

So does sleep deprivation lead to a mental disorder?  That seems to be the implication.  But that couldn't be it, could it?  Surely these scientists could not possibly believe that correlation is evidence of causation in this particular instance?

How about parents who don't insist on a regular bedtime for their sleep-deprived children. Do such parents suddenly become firm disciplinarians when their kids reach kindergarden? Might they also let their kids get away with murder in other ways?  Do children who get to pick their own hours and therefore are up half the night start to act out? Might they also get a little rambunctious and CRANKY? Ya think?  Just asking.

My conclusion based on the relative likelihood of the author's insinuation versus my own observations:  Most kids labelled with ADHD don't have a disorder at all but are just acting out, just like most of the ones labelled these days with pediatric bipolar disorder.

To quote the Last Psychiatrist again, "If a psychiatrist looked a single parent a joint away from a nap right in the eye and said, 'nope, he's acting out because of X, Y, Z, and medications aren't going to fix this' that doctor will get his head handed to him by parent or by lawyer.'"

It's amazing but predicatable how defensive parents who disagree with this line of thinking can get, which sort of proves TLP's (and my) point.  Such parents don't just argue logically, but indignantly get their panties in a bunch.

Adults act out too.  The latest fad no-such-diagnosis making the rounds of confused lay people to describe them (or themselves) is "Schizophrenic Bipolar."

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a nice post.I am felling glad to read it.

    Thanks for more sharing........

    Laith Salma