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June 1976

Methylphenidate Effects in Learning Disabilities: Psychometric Changes

Author Affiliations

From the Psychology Department, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, NY (Dr Gittelman-Klein), and the Psychiatry Department, Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center, Glen Oaks, NY (Drs Gittelman-Klein and Klein).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(6):655-664. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770060003001

• Sixty-one children of average intelligence with appreciable learning lags, but no behavior disorders, received placebo or methylphenidate hydrochloride for a 12-week period. Methylphenidate was instrumental in improving performance on many psychological tests, but did not affect performance on standardized achievement tests. None of the patient characteristics investigated was strongly predictive of drug effect.

Methylphenidate seems to have a specific effect on visualmotor processes, which in turn positively affect performance tasks, but not verbal tasks. Under the conditions of this study, methylphenidate treatment alone did not emerge as a useful agent for the amelioration of reading performance, although the data provide evidence for stimulant effects on children's cognitive functions.

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