This Week in Research: ADHD Resists Treatment; Teens Have Terrible Taste in Alcohol

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In this series, we  look at the newest findings coming out of our area’s top research universities. We’ve got some great minds in Baltimore — let’s learn what they’re learning!

Despite the significant investment in drugs to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the vast majority of young children continue to experience serious symptoms in spite of treatment, according to recent research out of Johns Hopkins.

The study, the largest long-term analysis of kids with ADHD diagnoses to date, looked at 186 children diagnosed with ADHD in preschool. The children, who were initially treated by Hopkins docs before being referred to community pediatricians, were tracked using reports from parents, teachers, and clinicians. Six years later, nearly 90 percent of them continued to struggle with symptoms. Even more alarming, the kids who were taking ADHD meds were just as affected as those who were medication-free.

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Underage drinking has long been explained as a peer pressure phenomenon:  if everyone else is doing it, I guess I should too. That herd mentality appears to apply to teenager’s favorite alcohol brands, too, according to recent research out of Johns Hopkins.

According to the study, nearly half of all the alcohol teens consume is from the top 25 brands; in contrast, adults are far more diverse in their tastes. For example:  27.9 percent of youth reported drinking Bud Light in the past month (14.6 percent drank regular Budweiser) and 17 percent had consumed Smirnoff malt beverages (while 12.7 percent had Smirnoff vodka).

“For the first time, we know what brands of alcoholic beverages underage youth in the U.S. are drinking,” said study author David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Importantly, this report paves the way for subsequent studies to explore the association between exposure to alcohol advertising-and-marketing efforts and drinking behavior in young people.”



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