CHICAGO – Children on medicine for attention deficit disorder scored higher on academic tests than their unmedicated peers in the first large, long-term study suggesting this kind of benefit from the widely used drugs.It is no surprise that kids on stimulants do better on tests than kids who are not on stimulants. Everybody knows that. People drink coffee for a reason.
The nationally representative study involved nearly 600 children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder followed from kindergarten through fifth grade.
Children's scores on several standardized math and reading tests taken during those years were examined. Compared with unmedicated kids, average scores for medicated children were almost three points higher in math and more than five points higher in reading. The difference amounts to about three months ahead in reading and two months in math, the researchers said.
Both groups had lower scores on average than a separate group of children without ADHD. The researchers acknowledged that gap but said the benefits for medicated youngsters were still notable.
It would be more interesting if it could be shown that the ADHD drugs somehow help ADHD kids more than they help other kids. Or if it were shown that ADHD drugs were more effective than coffee. Otherwise, I don't see that these studies show anything useful at all. Maybe we would be better off just giving coffee to all the kids.