Two Studies Reveal Flaws in Diagnosis and Treatment of AD/HD in Children

Recent research suggests that many pediatricians don't follow guidelines regulating the diagnosis and treatment of AD/HD in children.

Thursday December 1st - 12:00am

The American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines regulating the diagnosis and treatment of AD/HD in children (aap.org/policy/s0120.html). But recent research suggests that many doctors aren't following them.

The guidelines call for pediatricians to diagnose and treat AD/HD in children. But Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief of the division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children's Hospital in New Hyde Park, New York, reports that "many pediatricians still do not assume this responsibility." In his limited survey of 65 local pediatricians, four out of five doctors said they send suspected cases of AD/HD to a specialist.

In a related study, conducted by Dr. Adesman and Mary Solanto, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, the researchers discovered that the "short" form of the Conners' Teacher Rating Scales-Revised (CRS-R) - a symptom questionnaire widely used to screen for AD/HD - fails to identify 49 percent of children who likely have the "predominantly inattentive type" of AD/HD.

"The short form should not be used at all for evaluation of children for AD/HD, Inattentive Type," says Adesman. The "long" form of the scales is believed to be more accurate.

The study involved 316 children between the ages of seven and 12. Findings were presented at an October meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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