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by Martin Whitely

In February 2010 a review of information from the Raine Study, a longitudinal study of the health and wellbeing of thousands of Western Australian children, provided the world’s first long term (8 year) data on the safety and efficacy of ADHD stimulants. It provided challenging evidence that amongst children diagnosed with ADHD those ‘medicated’ with stimulants had significantly worse outcomes than those ‘never medicated’. Specifically those ‘ADHD diagnosed and  medicated’ were 10.5 times more likely to be failing school than those ‘ADHD diagnosed and never medicated’. In addition the past use of stimulant medications was associated with permanently raised diastolic blood pressure.

Some of the authors of the ADHD data review (with a history of advocating the use of stimulants) were obviously expecting different results and tried to diminish the significance of its findings and revised their own methodology after results were in. Fortunately a robust committee process lead by a principled chairperson ensured the integrity of the review.

The Raine Study is a unique data source with the potential for further analysis. The ADHD medication review analysed the outcomes for the Raine Study children at age 14. A further six years of data (at ages 17 and  20) has now been collected. Whether this rich data source will be utilised, and who will do the analysis (and can they be trusted), are all questions that are yet to be answered.

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Martin Whitely MLA – Member for Bassendean

Press Release – Embargoed until Wednesday 17 February 2010

The world’s first long term data review revealed that ADHD diagnosed children who had used stimulants (amphetamine based drugs like dexamphetamine and Ritalin) were 10.5 times more likely to fail to reach an age appropriate educational standard than children diagnosed with ADHD but never medicated.

“This completely destroys the basis of ADHD child drugging. The ADHD industries claim that without medication ADHD children risk academic failure has been shown to be complete BS. It is not just that ADHD drugs don’t improve long term school performance, the evidence is they drag kids down.”

“Parents will be furious they have been conned into giving their children taxpayer subsidised amphetamines. No responsible parent would knowingly increase their child’s chances of academic failure.”

The finding that past stimulant use was associated with sigificantly and permanently increased diastolic blood pressure which increases the risks of future heart attacks and strokes is of even greater concern. “Failing school is bad enough but increasing the risk of an early death from a heart attack or a stroke is something else.”

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Note: all words in italics are direct quotes from the report

Highlights

SignificanceThe longitudinal and comprehensive nature of the Raine study provides a unique opportunity to examine the long-term outcomes associated with the use of stimulant medication during childhood.[1] The 9 year data (ages 5 to 14) available from the Raine study is the only comprehensive educational, social, and health long term data source on the effect of stimulant medication available worldwide.

Permanent cardiovascular damage from medicationThe most noteworthy finding in the study was the association between stimulant medication and diastolic blood pressure. Compared to not receiving medication the consistent use of stimulant medication was associated with a significantly higher diastolic blood pressure (of over 10mmHg) This effect did not appear to be solely attributable to any short-term effects of stimulant medication, as when comparing groups who were currently receiving medication, it was found that those who had consistently received medication at all time points had a significantly higher mean diastolic blood pressure than those who had not consistently received medication in the past (difference of 7mmHg).These findings indicate there may be a lasting longer-term effect of stimulant medication on diastolic blood pressure above and beyond the immediate short-term side-effects.[2]

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In February 2010 Martin Whitely appeared on the 7:30 Report in a report regarding the Raine Study ADHD medication review. To see a full transcript of the debate please see the following link: ADHD medication debate re-ignites.

(The video can be viewed by following the links located on the right hand side of the transcript article)

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