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ADHD Symptoms Often Subside Within a Year

Children should be rechecked annually to prevent unneeded treatment, researchers say

FRIDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Children identified with an attention-deficit problem should be re-evaluated annually because symptoms often subside from one year to the next, researchers say.

The study authors looked at three groups of elementary school-age children: 27 first-graders and 24 fourth-graders who appeared to have trouble paying attention but weren't diagnosed as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and 28 kids in grades one through four who had been diagnosed with ADHD.

Teachers ranked the inattention levels of the students about once a year. The findings were published in the March 17 online edition of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

According to the researchers, scores of highly inattentive behavior declined for most children and fell to normal ranges for 25 percent to 50 percent of them. About one-third of kids showed no signs of an attention problem the year after they were thought to show at least six symptoms of ADHD.

The study authors pointed out that it is possible that attention problems could be the result of factors other than the child himself or herself. Poor organization in a classroom or disruptive classmates could cause attention problems instead, they suggested. Rechecking symptoms could prevent unneeded treatment for ADHD, they concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, March 22, 2010

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