As a country, we like to tout that we have the best medical care in the world, that we are cutting edge, innovative, and of the highest of quality. We are simply fabulous. And we are, depending on the stick we are measuring with. We are also costly, money driven, and questionably ethical when it comes to our research and development (R&D) in the area of drug creation. Funding directs the R&D. Drug companies have a great influence on where the energies of research happens and research projects that don’t promote or prove desirable results tend to get buried or not funded. It is not uncommon for results to have more spin on them than a spitball in baseball.
We hear what they want us to hear and not the whole story.
Their amount of spin on ADD/HD research and the medications involved could make a child’s top look like it was standing still.
“But how can that be? Doesn’t the FDA and our politicians protect us from such a twisted set of truths being presented to us?” You may ask. Well, since drug companies lobbyists spent the most money, by tens of millions, of any lobbying group in Washington, the answer is no.
Consider that since 1990, the number of people taking Ritalin has increased by 500%. As of early 2008, the United States has the highest level of Ritalin use and production. Canada’s Ritalin figures are under half of what the U.S. uses. No other countries have come close.
And let’s not forget our bragging rights: according to the Boston Globe newspaper, “New Englanders buy more of the stimulant Ritalin and its generic equivalents per capita than residents of any other part of the country, a fact that prescriber’s attribute to the region’s affluence and access to medical care.”
They may tell us that Dr. Phillip Shaw from the National Institute of Health did research where they discovered that the brains of children diagnosed with ADHD were a little behind schedule in growing. Yes, you heard that right. They said they are about three years behind the brains of other children. Everything else was normal. They said if they wait three years those children would catch up and turn out just fine.
But you are not likely to hear that a team of American scientists researching what is called the “Multi-Modal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD” — MTA for short, found that the drugs are useless over long-term. The drugs used to treat ADHD such as Ritalin and Concerta are useless. They have no benefits whatsoever after three years and even though they may show some short-term benefits depending on who is watching, and depending on their judgment of the child’s behavior, the truth is there is no long-term benefit whatsoever.
But we certainly don’t hear this from the AMA or the FDA or the drug companies that in the same study they found that these drugs stunt the growth of children.
“They were not growing as much as other children in terms of both their height and their weight,” said the report’s co-author, Prof. William Pelham from the University of Buffalo. “I think we exaggerated the beneficial impact of medication in the first study,” he added in reference to a study they did a few years ago where they declared that these drugs were helping children.
”We had thought that children medicated longer would have better outcomes. That did not happen to be the case. The children had a substantial decrease in their growth rate,” he continued. The second point was that there were no benefits to children taking these drugs whatsoever.
Now we are told that in a new study MRI brain scans of children’s brains found that these brains were three years behind schedule in development. Ergo we have justified our reason to medicate them.
Now here is some rocket science: We have medications that studies have shown that they stunt the growth of children’s brains AND that we feel that these medications are the perfect solution for brains that are already stunted in their growth.
And as Paul Harvey always said, “ Here is the rest of the story…” that 80% of the children who were looked at with those MRI scans were on ADHD medications.
So here in the good ole’ US of A is our medical care fabulous or simply funded, sometimes at the cost of our children’s long tern welfare.
My vote? Both.
Photo by Images_of_Money