The final of the big three records is, of course, death records

Despite the dismissal of the issue of prior medication use in published reports, the issue must have been quite sensitive in the minds of researchers nonetheless. Indeed, immediately upon the publication of a large study (n=291) by Castellanos, Lee, Sharp, Jeffries, Greenstein and Clasen (2002), that included a subset of ADHD patients who had never taken medication, the sponsor of that study, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), released a press briefing declaring: "Brain Shrinkage in ADHD Not Caused by Medications" (NIMH, 2002). This announcement rested on results of a subgroup comparison between 103 medicated and 49 unmedicated ADHD subjects, which found that, just like their medicated peers, unmedicated youths also demonstrated statistically significant smaller brain volumes than normal control subjects. There was no mention in this study about the specifics of the medication history of the medicated children. In our earlier review (Leo and Cohen, 2003) we discussed several problems with the Castellanos et al. study. The following is a brief summary of that discussion:

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The final of the big three records is, of course, death records. When looking for death records, the most important thing to remember is that early deaths, particularly infant deaths, were common. Nearly every parent lost a young child and many lost spouses as well. One writer concluded around the end of the eighteenth century that only seventy-eight out of one thousand people would die of old age. The rest would die before their time and by chance.

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Peasant women who didn’t breastfeed turned to artificial feeding. Unfortunately, during this time period no healthy alternatives to breastfeeding existed. Mothers fed their babies undiluted cow’s milk, sucked through a cloth or quill that had received little or no cleaning. Some mothers offered a form of solid food to their babies when they were as young as two months old. This often consisted of chewed up adult food wrapped in a cloth for the newborn to suck. Not surprisingly, these feeding practices disturbed the newborn’s developing digestive system, causing sickness and even death.


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While Matthew was taking Methylphenidate (Ritalin), at no time, were we informed of any test: echo-cardiogram, MRI. These types of tests could have detected the damage done to his heart. These test are not considered "standard" in monitoring "treatment" of ADHD they are usually never administered to children. Sadly death is inevitable without the possibility of detection.

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15-month old Julieanna Metcalf did not wake up from her daily nap on time. Running a temperature and not able to hold her head up in the bathtub, Julieanna was rushed to the hospital, where doctors suspected a particularly severe case of influenza. After intravenous fluids did not quell her symptoms, the doctor admitted her for an overnight stay. They did not yet know that she was fighting for her life with meningitis. They putting Julieanna on an antibiotic that also happened to work for meningitis, a fateful decision that would inevitably save Julieanna's life .

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Ryan Milley was 18 years old when he developed a fever and earache on Father's Day. During the early morning hours, Ryan entered his parent's room. He was weak, and in the dim light his mother noticed a rash on his stomach and could literally see blood vessels rupturing all over his body. After 25 years in the medical profession, Frankie Milley knew that her son had meningitis. Ryan died at 10:53 a.m., June 22, 1998, from Meningococcemia.

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Of course, death rates varied over time and place. For example, by the mid nineteenth century, 151 of every one thousand babies born died before age one in Sweden. By contrast, 294 died in Germany. Northwestern European countries tended to have lower infant mortality rates and longer life expectancies than their southern and eastern counterparts.

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However, most historians feel that improvements in living conditions, particularly improvements in the diets of the lower class, may have had an even greater impact. Improved nutrition kept people healthier. The introduction of the potato helped lengthen life spans. The potato provided peasants with a cheap, healthy, mostly dependable food that became a staple in many of their diets. In addition, more knowledge about hygiene and public sanitation lowered death rates, especially in the cities.