NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) – Children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder may be diagnosed because of problems paying attention, family history or, as new research suggests, because they’re younger than their classmates.
A Canadian study has shown that the youngest children in class are far more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and treated with medication. But that doesn’t mean the children necessarily have the disorder, according to the study’s authors. “Our study suggests younger, less mature children are inappropriately being labelled and treated,” study author Richard Morrow, a research analyst at University of British Columbia, said in a written statement. “It is important not to expose children to potential harms from unnecessary diagnosis and use of medications.”
For the study, published in the March 5 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers examined data on nearly 938,000 children from British Columbia, Canada. All schools in British Columbia have a cutoff to get into kindergarten or first grade by Dec. 31, 2011, which means kids born in December would be almost a year younger than a those born in January.
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