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ADHD diagnoses up 24 percent among Kaiser Permanente's So Cal patients, study says

A large-scale study of Southern California Kaiser Permanente patients has found a significant increase in the number of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The study of nearly 850,000 patients ages five to 11, who were seen at Kaiser’s Southern California hospitals,  found a 24 percent jump in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD fro 2001 to 2010.

Researchers found that white children had the highest rate of ADHD diagnosis, but the number of blacks and Latinos identified with ADHD spiked dramatically from 2001 to 2010.

“There was a greatest relative increase of ADHD in black children, which was about 70 percent; followed by Hispanics at 60 percent and white children at 30 percent,” says Dr. Michael Fassett, a maternal fetal specialist with Kaiser and a co-author of the study.  

Asians and Pacific Islanders showed no increase in diagnosis of ADHD. Fassett says that underscores the findings of prior studies suggesting that cultural difference affect how parents view the condition and whether they seek professional help for it.  

Fassett says the large-scale study study "helps substantiate" a clinical belief that ADHD is on the rise.

However, he says, more study is needed to determine how much of the increase is due to better diagnosis of the condition. 

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