Study finds they test higher than unmedicated peers in grade school
MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Children who take medication to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) do better in elementary school than those who don't, a new study has found.
Of 594 children whose parents reported an ADHD diagnosis, those who took medication scored 2.9 points higher on standardized math tests and 5.4 points higher on reading tests than children with ADHD who were not taking medication.
Researchers used a nationally representative sample from the Childhood Longitudinal Study of children who entered kindergarten in 1998, and followed them through fifth grade.
The higher test scores were comparable with the progress expected during one-fifth of a school year for math and about one-third of a school year for reading, according to the study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
"It's one more important piece of evidence that states clearly that taking the medication isn't just about parents or teachers feeling better about the child or thinking he or she is more compliant," said study author Stephen P. Hinshaw, chair of the department of psychology at University of California, Berkeley. "On an objective, rigorously-designed standardized test of reading and math ability, we have evidence there are 'real world' gains in achievement."
The study is published in the May issue of Pediatrics.
About 4.4 million children in the United States, or nearly 8 percent, have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 56 percent of those children take medication to treat the disorder and help them focus.
Boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls. The incidence rate for boys is 10.9 percent compared to 4.4 percent of girls, according to CDC statistics from 2003.
Symptoms of ADHD include distracti
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