View Full Version : Latest New York Times Hit Piece on ADHD

01-30-12, 02:09 AM
Hi folks,

I've never started a thread, so I hope I'm doing this correctly!

Many of you probably saw the NYTimes op-ed piece today by an Alan Sroufe, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota. In it, he repeated every tired old nostrum about ADHD, showing his ignorance and, imho, arrogance with every paragraph.

I'm not sharing the link here because why should we give the NYTimes satisfaction of more links when they run this kind of nonsense, as they LOVE to do. Commenting was not an option, so I sent him an e-mail.

Thought I'd share(and no, I don't pull any punches; I've learned that ego-filled old farts don't let the facts change their minds, no matter how diplomatic or gentle you are, so why not let it rip):

Good day,

I read your opinion piece in the New York Times, and I must say I’ve heretofore seen this level of ignorance about ADHD only on Scientology-fueled websites.

You offer the results of your “study” of 200 poor children as proof of — what was it? -- oh, that poor environment causes ADHD? Yet you offer no proof of that at all. Yours is just another psychological theory that can’t go head to head with a mountain of peer-reviewed science.

To be clear: What you abjectly fail to understand, among many things on this topic, is that ADHD can be an entrenched generational, heritable issue that keeps poor people poor. You have started with a select group, which is bad enough, but then you confuse association with causation.

I am extremely familiar with all the research around ADHD, including the MTA study, to which I presume you are referring. Please understand that the MTA study was not designed to measure long-term effect. It had other purposes. To come away with that conclusion only (that it showed medication has no long-term benefit) is to misinterpret the study entirely — and to jump on the bandwagon of critics who have never been willing to consider the science (or read the paper) in the first place.

The simple fact is that the medications stop working when people stop taking them. Yes! Surprise! They take effect almost immediately and leave the system in 2-12 hours. And when they leave the system, symptoms return.

The same thing happens with my eyeglasses. They have no “residual” effect when I take them off. Let's banish eyeglasses because they have no lasting long-term effect. Let's tell people they can't read because they grew up in an impoverished environment -- and leave it at that!

My work with thousands of people with ADHD and their family members makes me resolute on this matter: It is cruel and compassionless to make their lives harder by not understanding their condition and, moreover, adding to the anti-science rabble. The medications truly can mean the difference between having a life and seeing life as not worth living. Academicians must do the ethical thing and acknowledge where they lack expertise, even when it conflicts with decades of their tenured dogma. All else is vanity.

Your position reflects a kind of intellectual stultification, self-interested territoriality, and rank lack of compassion for people with real problems — people who might enjoy better access to evidence-based care if not for this kind of muddled thinking from myopic academics.

I see you are retired. Wouldn’t it be better to actually spend your retirement fruitfully — perhaps volunteering in a worthy cause — instead of making life harder for millions of kids and adults with ADHD?

01-30-12, 02:14 AM
Thanks Gina,

On my forays around the web you frequently give it to these mouth pieces. Thanks for your efforts. You rock!

01-30-12, 03:12 PM
The article: Ritalin Gone Wrong ( by By L. ALAN SROUFE

And the reply today: If Ritalin Has ‘Gone Wrong,’ What’s the Right Way to Cope? ( By KJ DELL’ANTONIA

Any thoughts or insights?

01-31-12, 03:25 AM
Thanks Gina,

On my forays around the web you frequently give it to these mouth pieces. Thanks for your efforts. You rock!

Ha! Thanks Ginnie.

It's so annoying to me on so many levels -- as a journalist and as someone who has taken pains to read the research, to interview experts, and talk to real-life people. It's just all so false and, well, yes, a tad evil. Arrogant's the worst.

01-31-12, 03:27 AM
And the reply today: If Ritalin Has ‘Gone Wrong,’ What’s the Right Way to Cope? ( By KJ DELL’ANTONIA

Any thoughts or insights?

Thanks for posting that link. I was just about to post it.

Lots of great comments there -- a parallel reality.

01-31-12, 09:13 AM
I was heartened by the overall tone of the responses to the rebuttal article.
Gina, you did good there.

I wish I had more time to write on this but right now my plate is kinda full.


01-31-12, 09:19 AM
Worlds full of "facts". Problem is that there is always "facts" coming from both sides, when really, nobody has "facts" about anything really.

01-31-12, 09:59 AM
We're discussing this over on the Scientific Discussions area of the ADD Forums: namazu has provided a couple of interesting links.