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Majority of 2.4 Million U.S. Children With ADHD Not Diagnosed or Consistently Treated, According to New 'Gold Standard' Study by Cincinnati Children's Researchers
Date:9/3/2007

dy methodology differed from previous studies, which had come up with widely ranging estimates of ADHD prevalence, from 2 to 26%. This was the first ADHD study to use a validated national database, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the first to use ADHD criteria based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, considered to be the "gold standard" for defining specific mental health conditions. The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Ambulatory Pediatrics Association, and a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar Award.

Froehlich and her colleagues found that only 47.9 percent of the U.S. children meeting ADHD criteria had reportedly been diagnosed by a health professional. Significantly more boys met ADHD criteria than girls, 11.8 vs. 5.4 percent (p <0.001). However, among children meeting criteria for the disorder, girls were a third less likely to have been diagnosed. Also, while 39 percent of those meeting ADHD criteria received some medication treatment, only 32 percent had consistent medication treatment during the last year.

"Our analysis suggests that some children with clinically significant inattention and hyperactivity may not be receiving optimal care," says Robert Kahn, M.D., a physician at Cincinnati Children's and the study's senior author. "Our report is not a call for increased use of medication, but certainly is a call for improved efforts to diagnose ADHD so that children with the disorder can receive the most appropriate treatment."

The CCHMC researchers examined NHANES data on 3,082 children gathered between 2001 and 2004, using criteria for identifying ADHD that were based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, better known as DSM-IV, published by the American Psychiatric As
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SOURCE Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
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