First study of long-term effects of Ritalin on children’s brains

Written by Marc Braman, MD, MPH – August 7, 2017
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This is actually pretty shocking…that this is the first ever study looking at the long-term effects of the most well known medication for ADD/ADHD in children.  This, and similar medications, have been very widely prescribed for many years in kids whose brains are still figuring out how to deal with the world.  We know developing brains are sensitive.  That we would do something so powerful so pervasively throughout society when all the evidence would lead us to reasonably expect there may be problems is rather dumbfounding.  And…sure enough…the research is confirming what we reasonably thought may be the case.  And it seems odd that such research has to come out of the Netherlands, when it is the US that is the biggest consumer of medications and should be the leaders in assuring safety.
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Some fascinating quotes from the researchers as found in the news story:

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.“Animal studies show that when animals were treated with methylphenidate during their childhood, persisting effects in the brain remained present well into adulthood. This alarmed me, as this hasn’t been studied in humans, but psychiatrists are increasingly prescribing methylphenidate to children to acutely decrease their symptoms of ADHD. I, together with the rest of the research group, therefore wanted to investigate this in humans in order to gain more knowledge about these possible persisting effects.”

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“…no studies so far have investigated the possible long-term effects of methylphenidate on the developing brain.”

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They found that methylphenidate (Ritalin) use in childhood led to decreased levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in adulthood in one part of the brain studied.

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We would suggest you avail yourselves of the great, science-based information on ADD/ADHD here on lifestylefacts.org for a trustable understanding and treatment approach to ADD/ADHD.

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