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December 1976

Diagnosis and Treatment of Minimal Brain Dysfunction in Adults: A Preliminary Report

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah College of Medicine, Salt Lake City. Dr Johnson is now in the US Army Medical Corps, Gorgas Hospital, Canal Zone.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(12):1453-1460. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770120057005

• Minimal brain dysfunction (MBD) has long been considered a disorder limited to childhood. A number of longitudinal and adoption studies suggest that MBD may persist into adult life where its existence is concealed by the application of a variety of diagnostic labels. In order to test the hypothesis that MBD does persist into adulthood, 15 putative MBD adults were identified on the basis of current MBD-like complaints, self-description of MBD characteristics in childhood, and a parental rating (on a standardized form) of "hyperactivity" in childhood. Eleven of the 15 subjects were given a double-blind trial of methylphenidate hydrochloride, and all 15 were given an open trial of pemoline, imipramine hydrochloride, or amitryptiline hydrochloride. Eight of the 11 showed a significant response to the double-blind trial of methylphenidate. Of the 15, eight showed a good response to stimulants or tricyclic antidepressants, two showed a moderately favorable response, and five were unresponsive to drug therapy.

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