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Riding Is My Ritalin

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1Riding Is My Ritalin Empty Riding Is My Ritalin 9/16/2013, 10:58 am



Riding Is My Ritalin(page 6)
Adam Leibovitz is conducting a groundbreaking experiment that could transform the way doctors treat ADHD: He's pedaling his bicycle.
ByBruce Barcott

Each of these studies quietly died on the vine. Beyond a select few ADHD researchers and therapists, exercise is conspicuously absent from most programs and literature related to the disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health's 47-page guide to ADHD makes no mention of it.

Why? Many reasons.

"First, the answer is too simple," says Wendt, the author of the 1999 SUNY study. Exercise improves health: It's not exactly ground-breaking news. There's little incentive for scientists to prove such common wisdom, even if it might be critically helpful to parents and kids with ADHD. "Second, pharmaceutical companies fund a lot of medical research," Wendt says, "and you see no funding for research in this area."

Maybe that's the biggest reason no one has been loudly touting the benefits of exercise: There is no profit in it. Exercise has no drug reps. In 2007, the pharmaceutical industry invested $58.8 billion in research and development. Bike manufacturers don't sponsor medical studies. There's so little money for exercise research, in fact, that Michael Wendt had to finance his ADHD study. It cost him $15,000.

There's something else to consider. During the years when Ritalin prescriptions spread through the nation's classrooms, school districts across America were cutting back on physical education programs and coming under increasing pressure to boost standardized test scores. From 1991 to 1995the very era when ADHD diagnoses were sky-rocketing the percentage of high school students enrolled in daily PE classes dropped from 42 percent to 25 percent. For money-strapped school districts, cutting PE became an easy way to save money and devote more time and resources to "teaching to the test."

Given that history, the question posed by the former Olympic medalist seems disturbingly germane. Did we put a generation of potential Tour de France riders on Ritalin instead of giving them bikes?

There's a good chance we did.

That's why what we need now, a number of ADHD researchers say, isn't more research. It's a stronger messageone that bypasses physicians and psychologists and goes straight to kids, teachers and parents.

"There's enough evidence out there that indicates exercise improves focus in children with ADHD," says Spark author Ratey. "My passion now is to get that message into the schools. I want to change the whole concept of PE. Let's make it more based on a fitness model instead of something that revolves around competitive ball games. Make it relevant, get every child involved, and show the benefits to teachers, students and parents."

Ratey spends a lot of his time these days testifying before state legislatures that are considering bills that mandate new physical education programs. Exhibit A are innovative PE programs in Naperville, Illinois, and Titusville, Pennsylvania, where high school students put in an hour of intensive cardio work before class every day. Those programs not only turn out the fittest students in the countrybut they're also among the smartest. The correlation between the unique PE programs and improved test scores, says Ratey, "are simply too intriguing to dismiss."

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2Riding Is My Ritalin Empty Re: Riding Is My Ritalin 9/16/2013, 11:20 am



You know speaking about Ritalin. Imagine how awful it is to treat active happy children forced into the unnatural environment of school with drugs. It's a hell-world we have created from a wonder of a world god gave us. Seems all that to produce little workers for the machine...some kind of way to crush the joy from kids. No wonder they have become buried in cyber space worlds where they can escape.

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