Navigation Links
History of hyperactivity off-base, says researcher
Date:5/27/2009

A Canadian researcher working in the U.K. says doctors, authors and educators are doing hyperactive children a disservice by claiming that hyperactivity as we understand it today has always existed.

Matthew Smith says not only is that notion wrong, it misleads patients, their parents and their physicians. Smith, who is from Edmonton, is finishing up his PhD at the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter.

Hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is currently the most commonly diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorder, says Smith, and millions of children are prescribed drugs such as Ritalin to treat it. Yet prior to the 1950s, it was clinically and culturally insignificant.

He argues in a paper presented at the Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences taking place at Ottawa's Carleton University this week, that hyperactivity disorder as we understand it today is a modern construct that was first described as a disorder in 1957.

Before that, Smith says hyperactive behaviour existed but it wasn't always thought of as a disorder or pathology worth treating.

However, Smith says many today assert that hyperactivity is a universal phenomenon, and say evidence of hyperactivity can be seen in historical figures such as Mozart or Einstein. Smith argues that hyperactivity as we understand it is rooted in social, cultural, political and economic changes of the last half century.

"When history is extended back beyond 1957, it overlooks all the social factors that contributed to the idea that children were hyperactive and that that was a problem," he says.

"We need to refocus the history of hyperactivity on the period starting from the late 1950s and 60s. "By doing so, we start to understand why people started to think there was a problem with children, why they thought that problem needed to be fixed, and why it became acceptable to fix that problem with drugs."

Smith says that whether you consider hyperactivity a disease worth treating often depends on context and the context changed in the late 1950s when the U.S. refocused its education system in response to the space race.

"If a child's playing soccer, there's a chance hyperactivity isn't going to be a problem. But if they are stuck in a classroom, it is a problem.

"We have to look at the social and historical factors that created the idea that children were distractible and that these were pathologies that needed to be treated.

"For patients and their parents, what this means is that the process by which their children are diagnosed is not rooted in a long history. If they understand that, they can develop the tools to question the diagnosis."


'/>"/>

Contact: Caitlin Kealey
ckealey@fedcan.ca
613-520-3552
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Satellites witness lowest Arctic ice coverage in history
2. Census of protein architectures offers new view of history of life
3. New study sheds light on Galápagos hawk evolutionary history
4. Microfossils disclose geologic history of eastern California
5. Rebuilding the evolutionary history of HIV-1 unravels a complex loop
6. Journal Sleep: Insomniacs are more likely to report a family history of the sleep disorder
7. Man-made changes bring about new epoch in Earths history
8. Lemurs evolutionary history may shed light on our own
9. Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History reveals ants as fungus farmers
10. Jeremy Jackson honored by Harvard Museum of Natural History
11. Ancient DNA: reconstruction of the biological history of Aldaieta necropolis
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... ISTANBUL , June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control ... to seamlessly log work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are ... Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160609/377486LOGO ... ... ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Global demand for ... percent through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market ... beverages, cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, and ... diagnostics, and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain ... by increasing consumption of products containing enzymes in ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Newly created 4Sight Medical Solutions ... healthcare market. The company's primary focus is on new product introductions, to include ... are necessary to help companies efficiently bring their products to market. , The ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid ... to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency ... new test has already been incorporated into numerous ... types. Over 230 clinical trials are ... including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: