Putting Methylphenidate in its place for ADHD

There was a recent systematic review into Methylphenidate use in ADHD. It’s reviewed in this NHS choices article.

The authors conclude “we cannot say for sure whether taking methylphenidate will improve the lives of children and adolescents with ADHD”

It’s important to be clear what this means: because the evidence is not of a very good quality, when considering starting this medication, it’s important not to be too optimistic about response- some kids just don’t do well on it, and we don’t know why. Some really do though, so we mustn’t dismiss it either.

The results do raise a question, however. If drug companies spent the money they lavish on marketing ADHD drugs on research, maybe the evidence wouldn’t be poor?

Mental Health Research at the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital – Research into Practice

Monday 14th March 2016, 1 – 5 pm

Kennedy Lecture Theatre, Institute of Child Health

30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH

  • Mental ill-health affects 1 in 10 children and 80% of adult mental illness starts before age 18.
  • In the population of children with physical illness, rates of mental illness are up to seven-times higher.

Chair: Professor Roz Shafran


1.00 Otto Wolff Lecture: Professor Michael Sharpe

Integrating physical and mental health care: evidence-into-practice across the lifespan

2.00 Dr Isobel Heyman

Child mental health in a specialist children’s hospital – complex or simple?


2.25 Professor David Skuse

A step-change in Intellectual Disabilities research? The IMAGINE-ID project


2.50 Dr Naomi Dale

Cognitive and behavioural development in children with visual impairment: from identifying early multi-factorial risks to improving outcome


3.15 Tea break

3.40 Dr Penny Titman

Psychological outcomes following stem cell transplantation: understanding and managing the impact on children and their families


4.05 Dr Rachel Bryant-Waugh

Feeding and eating disorders: working towards improved patient pathways

4.30 Professor Peter Fonagy

From bench to bedside; can science help transform mental health services for children and young people?


5.00 Drinks in the Winter Garden


Pre-registration is required for this symposium. Please register your attendance via the doodle link http://doodle.com/poll/4darezu4g7ayity6  or email ICH.DN.Programme@ucl.ac.uk to reserve your place at this unique event.

Bullying- a neglected mental health crisis

No-one likes a taskforce more that government- there are scores of groups looking at the effects of the latest Bogeyman, the internet, but the thing that is damaging about cyberbullying, is the bullying part, and we don’t hear enough about tackling this at a policy/ public health level.

This report http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/media/34591/ABA-mental-health-briefing-Nov-15.pdf?utm_source=hootsuite by the National Children’s Bureau, is a good start. However, for bullying to be taken seriously as a public mental health problem, concerted pressure from health and education organisations is required.

One for the 2016 ‘to do’ list?

Negative results in mental health intervention should be cherished, not ignored

It sounds sensible- prevention is better than cure, anxiety is a massive problem in adolescents, so shouldn’t a school-based programme be the way forward? From reading the political buzz, you’d think that was a done deal.

But this cannot be stated enough- we need to do robust studies to establish that new policy and interventions are effective. So negative studies like this one (http://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/phr/volume-3/issue-14#abstract) are very important. A programme like this, in this case the FRIENDS, didn’t really help all that much.

Maybe we need to look deeper, into the societal causes of anxiety, rather than applying sticking plasters…..

Should we embrace computerised therapy for young people

This interesting blog from the excellent Mental Elf website presents promising data on computerised CBT for young people.
There are obvious advantages to computerised intervention in terms of cost and access, but what’s interesting here is that cCBT is more effective in younger people than with adults. This in a population traditionally viewed as ‘hard to reach’ by conventional clinical engagement. Maybe young people, in general, find engaging with a computer interface more comfortable than an unfamiliar adult?
There is a strong professional resistance to moving towards computerised models, and a belief in the magic of one to one engagement. And in-person interaction can be magical. But given that young people like interacting with computers, and this interaction is at least potentially therapeutic, it seems churlish to resist, especially as this therapy is likely to be far more easily accessible to young people.