Parents can provide accurate reports of their children's ADHD symptoms

June 14, 2004

Traditionally, clinical trials of drugs to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children have relied on information provided by teachers to evaluate treatment success. An article from researchers at Mass General Hospital for Children (MGHC) verifies that parents can be as accurate as teachers in identifying ADHD symptoms and treatment-related changes in behavior. The use of parent reports in studies of new ADHD drugs could get around limitations of teacher-based studies and give a clearer picture of how ADHD affects children's activities throughout the day.

"ADHD had been looked on as affecting school time only, so it was assumed that teachers were the only reliable source of reports," says Joseph Biederman, MD, chief of Pediatric Psychopharmacology at MGHC, who led the study in the June issue of Pediatrics. "But we now know that ADHD can impact all aspects of a child's life. In addition, middle school children often have several teachers, which makes getting comprehensive assessments of behavior from teachers difficult."

To evaluate the feasibility of using parental reports, the MGHC researchers reviewed the medical literature to find clinical trials of ADHD medications that included evaluations from both parents and teachers. The identified three randomized trials examining either standard or long-acting medications for pediatric ADHD. In all three studies, reports from parents were as accurate as those of teachers in evaluating ADHD symptoms and documenting statistically significant improvements as a result of treatment.

"Many children are now receiving long-acting medications that can help improve their symptoms 24 hours a day and seven days a week," adds Biederman. "Our report shows that parents can accurately report their children's symptoms and can assess how the children respond to new medications." Biederman is a professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

The MGHC report was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. Biederman's co-authors are Stephen Faraone, PhD, Michael Monuteaux, ScD, and Joel Grossbard, all of the MGHC Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit.
-end-
Mass General Hospital for Children, the pediatric service of Massachusetts General Hospital, is the oldest provider of pediatric services in Boston. It is consistently listed in the U.S. News and World Report Annual Guide to America's Best Hospitals and was ranked number 16 in the 2003 edition. Through its growing network of community-based facilities and pediatricians, the hospital's excellent care is conveniently accessible to families throughout the region.

Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than 400 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, cutaneous biology, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In 1994, MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital joined to form Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery system comprising the two academic medical centers, specialty and community hospitals, a network of physician groups, and nonacute and home health services.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Related ADHD Articles from Brightsurf:

Autism and ADHD share genes
Researchers from the national psychiatric project iPSYCH have found that autism and ADHD share changes in the same genes.

ADHD across racial/ethnic groups
This study of patients from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds who received care at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health system looked at how common attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses were over a 10-year period across seven racial/ethnic groups.

Cycles of reward: New insight into ADHD treatment
Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in collaboration with scientists at the University of Otago and the University of Auckland in New Zealand, investigated the actions of the drug in rats.

Young mums more likely to have kids with ADHD
Young mothers have a greater chance of having a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) according to new research from the University of South Australia.

ADHD medication: How much is too much for a hyperactive child?
When children with ADHD don't respond well to Methylphenidate (MPH, also known as Ritalin) doctors often increase the dose.

Antipsychotic use in youths with ADHD is low, but still cause for concern
A new study eased fears about the proportion of youths with ADHD taking antipsychotic drugs, but still found that many prescriptions may be inappropriate.

How stimulant treatment prevents serious outcomes of ADHD
Analysis quantifies the extent which stimulant treatment reduces serious outcomes in children and young adults with ADHD.

Did Leonardo da Vinci have ADHD?
Leonardo da Vinci produced some of the world's most iconic art, but historical accounts show that he struggled to complete his works.

More sleep may help teens with ADHD focus and organize
Teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may benefit from more sleep to help them focus, plan and control their emotions.

Researchers have found the first risk genes for ADHD
A major international collaboration headed by researchers from the Danish iPSYCH project, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium has for the first time identified genetic variants which increase the risk of ADHD.

Read More: ADHD News and ADHD Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.