Current media depictions of AD/HD
We seem to be seeing a new resurgence in media coverage that either question the basic existence or nature of AD/HD or the validity of diagnostic or prescription practices. I’m in Canada, but a lot of what I’ve seen tracks back to the NY Times coverage, which local media tend to plagiarise with the sensational elements and without the qualifications that the NYT runs. That is a battle we probably have to fight one article and publication at a time, but a lot of these journalists also consult Additude.
In that context, I am wondering if we might suggest a column or page in which practitioners and research experts could comment on some of the content it runs. I see this morning a post relating to Mr. Amen’s latest “7 Types of AD/HD” book. A quick search of Amen’s credentials turns up a lot of references (“snake-oil salesman”, “a picture is worth a thousand dollars”) that suggest his credibility is questionable, and he’s also been criticised for scanning children when there is no clinical justification for the radiation exposure.
I am in the course of reading his book and much of it does not seem consistent with either the existing (and justified) skepticism about the ability of any available neuro-imaging technology to spot the physical characteristics (if any) of conditions such as AD/HD and ASD. It also isn’t consistent with my own experiences as a person with AD/HD. It is damaging to publish unbalanced or uncritical discussion of AD/HD issues, especially if the suggestion or inference is that it can be “fixed” or “healed” in the face of strong evidence that it cannot. Additude cannot afford to vet or peer-review the content it runs, but both media and readers with AD/HD could use some caveats attached to content like this - and in this case attention “focused” on links to some of the professional comments on the limits of neuro-imaging and his depiction of the disorder itself.
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