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The Sept. 8, 2011 online Medscape headline, “Omega-3 Effective for Treating Child ADHD” caught my eye.  I was curious because many previous studies had hoped, but failed to find a consistent improvement in ADHD symptoms from Omega-3 or fish oil.

After reading the article, I learned that this “new” finding was inaccurate.  The truth is the headline attempted to summarize a study that reviewed 10 prior studies using Omega-3 for ADHD children.  The conclusion was that only 2 of these studies showed improvement in symptoms compared to placebo groups.  The study’s author stated that “it was only when you combined the studies that the effect became significant to a small degree”.  Don’t bother trying to understand this statistical language.  Bottom line is that, in fact, the vast majority of children in these studies did not benefit from omega-3.

Later that same week, a TIME published an article, “A Yale Psychologist Calls for the End of Individual Psychotherapy“.  No, not exactly.  In fact, the Yale psychologist, Alan Kazdin, Ph.D. went on record to dispute the writer’s interpretation of his her interview with him.  He stated, “Lamentably, the headline and aspects of the story gave the impression that individual psychotherapy and those who provide such services are of little value.  This is exacerbated by a tone that can be seen as provocative and dismissive.  Thus, both content and style are opposite from my intent, my professional
and personal views, my demeanor, and the interview.” ( personal email communication 9/20/11)

We’ve always known not to judge a book by its cover.  In the new age of “journalism”, we should not come to conclusions based on headlines or soundbytes.