“Science says —” About ADHD — ADD Tip O The Day 724

‘Research shows that young children with ADHD do better with parental training and behavioral approaches than with medication’

I am a big fan of science, but it is not perfect.

Much research is based on averages.    For example, a new medication is tried against placebo, and  it does no better, so research on it is dropped. But it is no better, on average.  What about the outliers? The few people who got much better on it, and even the few who got much worse on it?  Wouldn’t it be useful to look into what’s going on with those folks?  But because the drug companies have to get FDA approval to market a medicine, and that’s based on averages, that’s all that’s looked at.

This happens in  research other than developing medications.

And there are logical fallacies produced in research:

New Yorker, May 16, 2016 on touch

‘celebratory touch – fist bumps, chest bumps, high fives, etc.’

“… Teams where players touched one another a lot did better than those who didn’t.”

This implies that touching should be encouraged because it produces better play.

That makes sense. Teams where the players support each other and encourage each other might do better, right?

Or could it be that touching is stimulating, producing more endorphins and more testosterone, so that the players can play better?

Or could it simply be that teams which are doing well have more opportunities for “celebratory touch?” So rather than being a cause of good performance, touching might be a symptom of good performance?


I have long voiced complaints about schizophrenia research, a prime example of using averages – the average improvement on a medication  vs. placebo, the average size of the ventricles of people with schizophrenia vs non schizophrenia, etc. etc.

One problem with this research is that we don’t have a good definition of schizophrenia and there obviously are at least several different varieties, but they are all lumped together into “averages”.  Another is that while a study may show that people with schizophrenia have larger ventricles that those without (on average), the graphs overlap. That is, some people with schizophrenia have smaller ventricles than some people without. Again, the outliers are not being studied.

I’m using ventricles as an example; these observations apply to most studies of schizophrenia.

Young children with ADHD

It is my opinion that most of these children do better with parental training, behavioral approaches, and medication.  I think that reading the research carefully supports this opinion, but that is not what the headlines report.

There is good science, bad science, abuse of science, and misrepresented science. It is hard to know what to believe



Young children and medication

Another article

On science


@addstrategies  #adhd  #add  @dougmkpdp

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at amazon.com, or smashwords.com (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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2 Responses to “Science says —” About ADHD — ADD Tip O The Day 724

  1. ExplicitInformant says:

    Good post, thanks. Great example of questioning a research finding that makes sense on its face, and showing how easily it could have been produced by other variables.

    Liked by 1 person

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