View Full Version : Disconnect between the results of a study and the conclusion made by its authors: an

Kunga Dorji
01-08-14, 05:30 PM
I have commented a few times on the rather poor quality of some scientific research, and the fact that there is often a disconnect between the actual results of the study and the conclusion derived from those results.

I have been asked to provide examples of my concerns- and this is a clear one:!

Our findings suggest an augmented striatal dopaminergic response in treatment-na´ve ADHD. Though in contrast to results of a previous study, this finding appears consistent with a model proposing exaggerated phasic dopamine release in ADHD. A susceptibility to increased phasic dopamine responsivity may contribute to such characteristics of ADHD as poor inhibition and impulsivity.

The problem with this is a serious confusion between correlation and causality:
The correct way to understand this would be that the increased phasic responsivity probably indicates that the receptor neurones in the striatum are somewhat starved of dopaminergic input (for whatever reason) and that this deficient input is responsible for decreased competence in the true action of dopamine - which is to lock attention onto the most relevant object in the individual's environment (whether internal or external).

Now as far as "for whatever reason" goes- the underfiring of neurones from the midbrain could be due to a primary defect in dopamine manufacture, or to due to a failure of input into the dopaminergic neurones for another reason further upstream in the chain of neurones involved.

I see these sort of egregious errors all the time, and they are often highly influential in the debate around ADHD causation.