Th­ese find­ings should be taken into ac­count be­fore pre­scrib­ing stim­u­lants for ADHD.

Wellness Update - - Meet Our Doctors -

New York, NY - A team of re­searchers led by an epi­demi­ol­o­gist at Mount Si­nai School of Medicine has found that be­ing one of the younger kids in class can af­fect a stu­dent's aca­demic per­for­mance. The au­thors of the study be­lieve that th­ese find­ings should be taken into ac­count when eval­u­at­ing chil­dren for at­ten­tion-deficit/hyper­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der (ADHD). As a re­sult of the study, the team rec­om­mends that educators and health care providers take chil­dren's rel­a­tive age in class into ac­count when eval­u­at­ing aca­demic per­for­mance and other cri­te­ria for ADHD di­ag­no­sis. Helga Zoega, PhD, Post-Doc­toral Fel­low of Epi­demi­ol­ogy at Mount Si­nai's In­sti­tute for Trans­la­tional Epi­demi­ol­ogy, along with re­searchers from Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health and the Univer­sity of Ice­land worked on the study, ti­tled "Age, Aca­demic Per­for­mance and Stim­u­lant Pre­scrib­ing for ADHD: A Na­tion­wide Co­hort Study." The study ap­pears on­line in Pe­di­atrics on Novem­ber 19. The re­searchers stud­ied more than 11,000 stu­dents over a sev­eral year pe­riod of na­tion­wide data from Ice­land. They looked at the like­li­hood of the chil­dren ages 9 and 12 scor­ing low on tests and how this re­lated to their ages com­pared to oth­ers in their class. They also noted the rel­a­tive like­li­hood of younger ver­sus older chil­dren be­ing pre­scribed stim­u­lants be­tween ages 7 and 14. "Our re­sults showed that chil­dren in the youngest third of their class at­tained scores more than 10 per­centile points lower than stu­dents in the old­est third of the class for both math and lan­guage arts," said the study’s lead au­thor Dr. Zoega. "Chil­dren in the youngest third were 50 per­cent more likely than those in the old­est third to be pre­scribed stim­u­lants for ADHD." The re­searchers found that the ef­fect of rel­a­tive age on aca­demic achieve­ment might lessen over time, but it is a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor up un­til pu­berty. Par­ents can use th­ese find­ings to help in­form their de­ci­sions about school readi­ness for chil­dren born close to

cut­off dates for school en­try.

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