Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Ritalin May Increase Children's Cancer Risk

Parents who give their children Ritalin -- the calm-inducing drug prescribed to children for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- may find themselves a bit jittery upon reading the results of a new study. Researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston recruited a dozen 8-year olds with ADHD to examine Ritalin's effects. Blood samples were taken from the children before and three months after starting the drug. After testing white blood cells, researchers found a threefold increase in the level of chromosomal damage in the samples taken after the children were started on Ritalin. Lead researcher Randa A. El-Zein, MD, PhD. remarked: "It was pretty surprising to me that all of the children taking [Ritalin] showed an increase in chromosome abnormalities in a relatively short period of time." So if your child is on Ritalin, you may want to work with your practitioner to investigate alternatives.


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