To the Editor
June 17, 2001
711 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In publishing When Your Child Can’t Sit Still, (June 10,2001) by Daniel G Amen, you have done your
readership an incredible disservice. Allow me to enumerate the reasons. “Amen writes “I assure you ADD
is a very real, neurologically based illness with genetic underpinnings.”
Saying it is “a very real, neurologically based illness,” Amen posits that it is a disease/abnormality of the
brain. No abnormality on any exam or test; no disease. ADD, by whatever name has not, to this day, been
validated as a disease, due to a physical-chemical abnormality anywhere within brain or body of the
child/adolescent/adult. Saying it has “genetic underpinnings” Amen misleads again, for, if ADD/ADHD has
not been validated as a disease/abnormality in the first place, it surely cannot have a cause, such as an
abnormal gene or genes-and, as we would expect, none have been demonstrated/proved.
Under “New Insights”, Amen writes: “Now, cutting-edge nuclear brain-imaging studies have identified
several subtypes, each requiring different treatment.” Here, the propaganda strategy speak is to speak of
“sub-types” or several types of ADD/ADHD, in which case, we could hardly doubt it’s very existence. But
the duplicity is complete, none of the three American Psychiatric Association versions of ADD/ADHD, not
their 1980 (DSM-III) version of ADD, or the 1987 (DSM-III-R) or 1994 (DSM-IV) version of ADHD have
been validated as true abnormalities/diseases within the individual. As Professor William Carey of
Philadelphia Children’s Hospital testified at the November 16-18, 1998, NIH Consensus Conference on
ADHD: ” .What is now most often described as ADHD in the United States appears to be a set of normal
behavioral variations. This discrepancy leaves the validity of the construct in doubt.” The CC Panel 
concluded: “.we do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there are no data to indicate that
ADHD is due to a brain malfunction.”
Nor has ADD/ADHD been validated as an actual disease/abnormality from that time to the present.
Finally, Amen claims to have diagnosed thousands of cases of ADD/ADHD with brain scans. In that no type
of examination, laboratory test, x-ray or scan is known which can establish ADD/ADHD, or any psychiatric
diagnosis, Amen’s brain scanning, ADHD practice, warrants official scrutiny. Should you doubt my
“science” I would invite you to write to put your questions to Steven Hyman, MD, Director of the National
Institute of Mental Health. Ask him specifically, where the proof is that ADD/ADHD is a diagnosable
disease having a demonstrable/diagnosable, confirming, abnormality within the child/adolescent/adult.
PARADE owes it to the public to scrutinize the scientific merit of claims it chooses to sensationalize. For
that matter, so does the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) and so does Children and Adults with
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (CHADD). If your intent is to get the most reliable information
on the subject, to the public, you should publish this letter.
Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD, board certified in Neurology, Child Neurology
1303 Hidden Mountain Dr.
El Cajon, CA 92019