We’re really scratching our heads with this one.

As we noted yesterday, St. John’s wort is not an effective treatment for attention deficit disorder (ADHD). Okay. That’s fine. But when we looked through the literature to try and figure out why anyone would think St. John’s wort would be effective for ADHD, we came up empty-handed.

It’s fairly unusual to see researchers go to the trouble of a trial of this size and nature to prove a negative. But then when we saw one of the authors of the study was none other than the infamous Joseph Biederman of the Harvard scandal, the pieces fell together. To us, it would be like suggesting St. John’s wort may be an effective treatment for schizophrenia, since they both purportedly work on neurotransmitters in the brain (not far from the reasoning used by the researchers in the present study).

Biederman, as you may know, takes drug money from pharmaceutical companies. Nothing wrong with that, except that when you’re a researcher, you’d better make sure you make those ties well-known in advance. Oops! Biederman failed to report a measly $1.6 million of drug-tied money. Guess who gave him a lot of that money?

Yes, you’re right — the makers of certain ADHD medications.

Now, far be it for us to connect the dots here, but it seems strangely coincidental that one of the leading researchers of this study finds that a potentially competitive treatment is no more effective than placebo. Far be it from us to paint all researchers with the same tainted brush, but Biederman is now tainted by his failure to disclose this kind of huge sum of money to his own university. You know, that prestigious one… Harvard.

Typically null results like this make no headlines and no mainstream media picks it up. But this story made lots of headlines and lots of mainstream media picked it up. We find that unusual and can’t help but wonder at why this study was done at all.

Read the full article: St. John’s Wort Not Effective for ADHD



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jun 2008
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2008). St. John’s Wort for ADHD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 31, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/06/11/st-johns-wort-for-adhd/


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