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Ritalin May Cause Long-term Brain Damage
For years, we have been told that Ritalin, the drug used on children with the dubious disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD) is harmless. Now comes news in the August 22, 2001 issue of the
Journal of the American Medical Association
that Ritalin does indeed cause long-term brain damage similar to its chemical relatives cocaine and amphetamine.
Lead researcher, Prof. Joan Baizer of the University of Buffalo says, "clinicians consider Ritalin to be short-acting. When the active dose has worked its way through the system, they consider it all gone." She went on to say that this concept may be wrong, that their research "suggests that [Ritalin] has the potential for causing long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and function."
Amphetamine and cocaine activate genes in the brain that are responsible for addiction. This study showed that these same genes were activated after exposure to Ritalin.
"These data do suggest that there are effects of Ritalin on cell function that outlast the short term and we should sort that out," Baizer said.