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No Disease, No Treatment, only Drugging, Poisoning

by Fred A. Baughman Jr., M.D. 12/28/00 (861 words)

[The august, scientific journal/publication SCIENCE (CLINICAL TRIALS:
"Planned Ritalin Trial for Tots Heads Into Uncharted Waters." Science,
November 17, 2000; 1280-1282, by Eliot Marshall) recently commented upon
a research proposal authored by the National Institute of Mental Health
to recruit and treat 3 - 6 year old children for ADHD. What follows are
some thoughts on this article and the underlying issues.]

The National Institute of Mental Health has begun funding clinical
trials to determine “…whether a popular but controversial drug is safe
and effective for preschool children…”
. The Preschool ADHD Treatment
Study (PATS) would broadly enlist preschoolers to establish the best
dose of Ritalin for children between 3 and 6 years of age. Ritalin is
one of the 10 most widely prescribed products used for children without
FDA approval.

SCIENCE, like other peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals over
the past 20 – 25 years, speaks of this research as ‘controversial’.
However, SCIENCE does not identify the primary source of controversy:
that ADHD—invented in-committee at the American Psychiatric Association,
has never been an actual disease.

In other words, the “disease” being treated is the equivalent of the
Emperor’s New Clothes.

However, the children’s fable of the emperor and his imaginary new
clothes, which exist only through fear of disagreeing with the majority
opinion, is far more benign. The following points must be considered for
an honest and thorough assessment of the real issues behind the PATS

· Invalid diagnostic criteria for ADHD: Pediatrician William B. Carey
(Philadelphia Children’s Hospital) testified at the November 16-18,
1998, NIH, Consensus Conference: “What is now most often described as
ADHD in the United States appears to be a set of normal behavioral
variations [emphasis added]. This discrepancy leaves the validity of the
construct in doubt.”
Dr. Carey’s statement was not an expression simply
of his own belief; it illustrates the fact that nowhere in the
scientific literature of the world has there been proof of a
confirmatory, characteristic, physical or chemical abnormality to
validate ADHD as a disease.

· Informed consent vs. hidden long-term damage: Young children clearly
cannot give informed consent to be treated with any drug. Consequently,
informed consent for the study will be sought from the parents.
However, parents cannot give truly informed consent either, so long as
they have been persuaded that ADHD is a disease caused by an abnormality
within their child’s brain, when in fact no objective abnormality can be
identified. Nor can they give informed consent when they are not told of
the 14 years of brain scanning research documenting on-average 10%
brain atrophy in ADHD subjects, virtually all of whom were taking
Ritalin. Such atrophy has not been found in children who have not taken

SCIENCE magazine legitimately questions whether “…psychoactive drugs
might affect the development of visual processing, language, motor
skills, and memory of young children.”
Given the established
speculative nature of ADHD diagnosis, what informed parent would expose
their child’s normal, vulnerable, developing brain to permanent drug

· Dramatic escalation in child psychiatric drug prescriptions: The
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that the use
of psychoactive medicines by children ages 2 to 4 tripled from 1991 to
1995. Ritalin is at the top of the list, according to insurance and
Medicaid figures compiled by epidemiologist Julie Zito (University of
Maryland, Baltimore). SCIENCE states that as many as 150,000 to 200,000
US children in this age group may now be taking Ritalin.

One must be either very innocent or very gullible to ignore the
potential motivations and conflicts of interest in opening a new patient
market to a pharmaceutical product. Any thorough assessment of the
burgeoning ADHD industry must include an exploration of the biases and
funding of the involved spokesmen, researchers and authorities.

Virtually every US journal in psychiatry, neurology, pediatrics, general
and family practice has referred to ADHD as a proven
neurological/biological disease. Some may assume that these references
prove that ADHD is a disease, but these same journals omit mentioning
the lack of any objective means of validating its diagnosis. Creation
of a disease by official agreement rather than scientific research and
fact has brought about an apparent ADHD epidemic, fostering its
escalating diagnosis and intimidating parents into accepting drug
treatment for their children.

A disease does not exist simply because the someone says it does, no
matter how many journal articles or prescriptions can be written as a
result. This emperor has no clothes and it’s time to expose the naked
lies behind the false ADHD diagnosis and resulting drug abuse of our
nation’s children.

If ADHD is not a disease, children, said to have it—regardless of
age–are normal. If the children are normal, there is no such thing as
legitimate, medical, treatment, there is only the drugging and
poisoning, of normal children. And this is illegitimate, illegal, and
criminal. We must keep our definitions straight.

The PATS study must not be allowed to go forward. It is not legitimate,
legal, medical treatment or research. It is marketing deception in the
name of research. It is the victimization, by a branch of the US
federal government—the National Institute of Mental Health–of normal,
preschool, children–and it is criminal.

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