Westminster debate on Ritalin and children

A debate on the prescription of Ritalin and similar drugs to treat behavioural disorder in young children will take place at Westminster today (25 October 2011). Called by Pat McFadden, the Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, it will take place in Westminster Hall at 1:30 p.m. and the Society will be tweeting about the debate as it takes place.

In March of this year the Society endorsed a call for a review of the prescription of such medication to children. Professor Peter Kinderman from the University of Liverpool, chair of the Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology, explained at the time that many psychologists are concerned at the use of psychiatric and medical diagnoses in cases concerning shyness and mild social anxiety, "not only because of doubts about the validity of many of the diagnostic approaches, but because of the possible adverse effects".

Earlier tomorrow in Westminster Hall there will be a debate on sex and relationship education in primary schools, called by Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire.


Thanks to the BPS for tweeting on this event. Whilst not an expert on the pharmacotherapeutic strategies used for conditions like ADHD, I am slightly struck by the general playing down of other evidence linking certain cases of ADHD and ADHD-type behaviours to things like diet for example.
Four years after Donna McCann and colleagues reported on food additives and hyperactivity in the Lancet (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17825405) alongside the excellent summary provided in the AAP Grand Rounds (http://aapgrandrounds.aappublications.org/content/19/2/17.1.extract) little seems to have been enacted on this topic officially.
Allowing for the fact that a diagnosis of ADHD, much like autism spectrum conditions, is a nebulous one, with great heterogeneity in presentation and risk for other comorbidities, is it not time start looking at the evidence base in this area with more detail?
Without wishing to turn this into some kind of rant, how about the recent findings suggestive that up to 15% of cases of ADHD might also be associated with coeliac disease and that use of a gluten-free diet seemed to affect both somatic and psychiatric presentations of each? (full text: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3184556/)?