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October 1980

Minimal Brain Dysfunction and Hyperkinesis: A Clinical Viewpoint

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA 19104; Devereux Center Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(10):926-929. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130220004002

During the last 20 years much attention has been given in the medical and psychological literature to the syndrome of minimal brain dysfunction (MBD) or hyperkinesis (hyperactivity), the terms generally being used interchangeably. Experts have emphasized the high frequency and clinical importance of this condition and have warned clinicians about the necessity of early detection and proper treatment. The conscientious clinician cannot fail to be impressed by the magnitude of this literature and its sense of urgency.

However, when the clinician inspects these reports closely, the concept is found to be so poorly described that deciding whether a particular case fits the definition adequately is difficult. The expert consultant, who is presented with a child with clear evidence of academic or behavioral problems, may label such a case as MBD with little hesitation, but the primary care clinician is often perplexed.

The purposes of this communication are to review critically

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