Rid­dle of the van­ish­ing health scare

The Mail on Sunday - - Comment -

IT’S odd the way some health scares get a lot of pub­lic­ity, and oth­ers don’t. But I was amazed how lit­tle at­ten­tion has been paid to a study show­ing a higher in­ci­dence of Parkinson’s dis­ease in those, in­clud­ing chil­dren, who take pills pre­scribed for ‘ADHD’.

Those given these pills were said to be sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to de­velop the dis­ease, or sim­i­lar con­di­tions, be­tween the ages of 21 and 49. This con­nec­tion was more marked for pa­tients who had been pre­scribed only Ri­talin, the drug most com­monly used in such cases in the UK.

The one news­pa­per that men­tioned it gave it a tiny space and a poor po­si­tion, and quickly added that ‘no def­i­nite link had been found’, which is true but not very re­as­sur­ing.

It then quoted uniden­ti­fied ‘ex­perts’ who said that the sam­ple size of the study was small. Well, it isn’t that small. I got hold of the study, which pretty much ex­am­ined the whole pop­u­la­tion of the US state of Utah, born since 1950, in­clud­ing 31,769 ‘ADHD’ pa­tients and 158,790 peo­ple who haven’t been la­belled with ‘ADHD’. Of course, there could be an­other ex­pla­na­tion. But as the au­thors say, it cer­tainly de­serves fur­ther study.

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