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Kids As Young As 4 Can Be Diagnosed, Treated For ADHD

Doctors can and should be evaluating their young patients for ADHD as early as age 4, according to new guidelines from a leading group of pediatricians.

"Treating children at a young age is important, because when we can identify them earlier and provide appropriate treatment, we can increase their chances of succeeding in school," said pediatrican Mark Wolraich, lead author of the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The most controversial part of the new advice is its endorsement of medication, such as Ritalin and Vyvanse, to treat even 4- and 5-year-olds with moderate-to-severe problems when behavioral therapy falls short.

The Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved use of the drugs in children younger under 6. Doctors are free to prescribe medicines for uses that aren't explicitly approved by the FDA.

The pediatricians group put together detailed advice for doctors to help them diagnose children ages 4 to 18, an expansion of the 6 to 12 age group covered in the previous guidelines issued about 10 years ago.

For parents, there's a revised tip sheet on symptoms of ADHD.

ADHD is common, affecting about 8 percent of children, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'

After NPR's Bob Mondello used The Music Man to help explain the Iowa caucuses, he wished there was a musical of Our Town so he could do the same for New Hampshire. It turns out there is one.
NPR

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business

For the first time, companies can apply to set up fish farms in U.S. federal waters. The government says the move will help reduce American dependence on foreign seafood and improve security.
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What's Behind Trends In U.S. Violent Crime Rates

FBI data suggest there was a slight uptick in violent crime in the first half of last year, but overall violent crime rates in the U.S. have dropped dramatically over the last twenty years. What led to the long-term decline, and why do some say it’s likely to continue?

WAMU 88.5

Blocked: Twitter's Role In Combating Violent Extremism

Over the course of seven months, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts.

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