Study Finds ADHD Caused By Lack Of Age
While studying children's behavior for a possible link between television viewing and the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pediatric researcher George Ramos stumbled upon a common trait that is now being considered the sole cause of ADHD in children: their lack of age.
"We were observing a few test subjects watching television," said Ramos, "when one of the subjects, a 5-year-old boy, picked up the bean bag he was sitting on and threw it at one of the other subjects. I thought to myself, ‘Man, what a childish thing to do.' And that's when it hit me."
The study, conducted over the course of two months at the Children's Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut, was then redesigned to test Ramos's "lack of age" theory, and the results showed an extremely high correlation between those diagnosed with ADHD and age levels below 14.
The children's lack of age reportedly caused them to show telltale signs of the disorder, including choosing to watch cartoons over doing their homework, running, jumping, and developing a strong appetite for sugar.
"Let's go play hopscotch!" said one particularly sick 6 year-old boy when presented with a New York Times crossword puzzle. "This stuff is boring!"
"'Boring', he called it," Ramos recalled, shaking his head in disappointment. "These are some troubled kids."
The researchers also found that while 76-84 percent of the children exhibited signs of ADHD, the disorder's effects seemed to show more strongly the lower the age of the child.
"It's the strangest thing," said researcher Sarah Putnam. "As a child's body, and more specifically as their brain, matures, they seem to be less likely to show signs of the immature behavior that's caused by this disorder."
Putnam added: "This really just flies in the face of traditional science."
The findings of the study suggest that while nothing can be done to compensate for a child's lack of age, regular doses of Ritalin and anti-depressants can effectively prevent their child-like behavior.
"With a little bit of modern science and medicine," Ramon explained, "we can have these kids sitting still and paying attention to virtually anything that's put in front of them, from math problems to helpful after-school specials on the dangers of taking drugs that alter behavior."
And while there has been controversy over some anti-depressants lately, for many Americans, methods like these are just what the doctor ordered to get their children to calm down.
"I just want my kids to behave like normal kids do," said 36-year-old mother of two Sandra Wells. "If that means that they have to take Ritalin like all of their friends at school, then so be it."
Wells added: "I mean, how are they going to get anywhere in life if they can't focus on one thing for more than thirty seconds at a time?"
Wells, an out-of-work administrative assistant, then went back to watching the Fox News channel and flipping to Comedy Central during the commercials, all while glancing through the latest issue of People magazine.