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The Informed Parent

What Does The Pediatric Medical Literature Tell Us?

by John H. Samson, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Jul. 24, 2006
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Since I read pediatric medical literature regularly it crossed my mind that our readers might enjoy some current journal articles. They could find these quick summaries and observational comments to be educational.

Some of these article will answer significant questions and concerns that our parents often have. Other topics may prove humorous, and one wonders how they even found their way into the medical literature.

1. Stimulant Treatment for ADHD and growth

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology 45 : 5 May 2006

The authors conclude, "the height suppression associated with stimulant treatment is not a major clinical concern and that mixed salt amphetamines (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin) appear similar in the effects on heights during the first three years of their treatment."

COMMENT:
This should relieve some anxiety on the topic. For absolute assurance a longer study would be useful. My own practice experience shows no indication of significant height suppression, even in patients who persisted with stimulant medication through adolescence. I await a long term scientific study to confirm my experience.

2. Methylphenidate and growth in children with ADHD.

Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology 45 : 5 May 2006

Here is another look at the same issue. The authors conclude: "The effects of prolonged Concerta therapy on growth were clinically insignificant and limited to slight decreases in weight during the first months of therapy. Drug holidays did not reduce any impact on growth."

COMMENT:
This supports the first article over a two month study. Once again, this should allay the concerns of many parents. These two articles are quite detailed and some parents may appreciate reviewing the original articles in the journals as listed.

Now, on a different vein...

3. Is There An Autism Epidemic?

Pediatrics 117 #4 April 2006 p. 1028

The author indicates that an autism epidemic is not occurring. The increased prevalence of diagnosis is due to proper diagnosing and avoidance of incorrect diagnostic criteria.

COMMENT
Thirty-six years of practicing general and behavioral pediatrics certainly supports this author's views.

Now, for a little "does this surprise anyone?".....

4. Sexy media matter and adolescent behavior

Pediatrics 117 #4 April 2006 p. 1018

Sexy media matter, i.e. movies, music, television and magazines, increases white adolescents sexual activity and leads to engaging in early sexual intercourse.

COMMENT
Here's a shocker!!!

From the Editor:
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