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Letter from UK Attorney to Dr. Gerald Lucey, Editor-in-Chief, PEDIATRICS

 Dear Dr. Lucey
 While Fred Baughman might be inclined to use language which might be alarming 
 to those editing scientific journals (as indeed it is to those of us in the 
 legal profession) he has a very valid question which is still unanswered 
 "Is ADHD a bona fide disease with a confirming, objective, 
 demonstrable/diagnosable, physical/chemical abnormality?" 
 I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Baughman that if this is not the case then 
 the wholesale dispensing of Ritalin is being carried out with a total 
 disregard of medical ethics. 
 Are the doctrines of beneficence and autonomy suspended where the perceived 
 "symptoms of disease" manifest themselves in behavior rather than in 
 physiological characteristics? 
 It may in fact be the case that this powerful and addictive stimulant 
 suppresses the symptoms of this " condition" but is also true that powerful 
 sedatives would achieve that objective.  I would like to add another question 
 to Dr. Baughman's 
 Is there any evidence that this treatment is efficacious, 
 in that it improves the quality of life of those who receive it? 
 Because I have spent many years in the legal arena I am less inclined to use 
 the kind of emotive language that Dr. Baughman uses.  If I were advising him 
 I might suggest he tone it down.  I must say however that because his views 
 are not expressed in the dry as dirt terminology of the medical and 
 scientific journals it does not mean that they are wrong or even polemic 
 incoherent, verbose, wandering letters full of unfounded libelous  
 Dr Baughman has over the period I have been corresponding with him made 
 numerous attempts to have serious scientific questions answered.  I have 
 observed him questioning the champions of the disease theory of behavioral 
 disorders and I have yet to see a coherent answer.  Is that the way  
 scientific problems are solved? 
 On this subject I have read more articles in medical peer journals and in 
 their social science equivalent than I am comfortable with.  Not one of them 
 has convinced me that there is any real science to support this "epidemic" of 
 ADHD.  There was a time when science required its conclusions to be backed up 
 by a standard of proof similar to that in the criminal law.  Speculation now 
 it seems will do. 
 Barry Turner 
 Lecturer in Forensic Science, Medical Ethics and Law 
 University of Lincoln 
 United Kingdom 

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