Health Buzz: ADHD Drugs Don't Raise Kids' Heart Risks

Angela Haupt


Study: ADHD Drugs Don't Cause Heart Problems in Kids

ADHD drugs don't raise heart risks for kids, a large study suggests. Researchers analyzed data from more than 1.2 million children and young adults taking Ritalin, Adderall, and other stimulant drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They found no evidence that the medications increase the risk of heart attacks or other serious cardiovascular issues, despite past reports of problems. The findings were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is the first of three the U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioned to examine the link, after receiving reports in 2006 of heart attacks, strokes, and sudden cardiac arrest in children taking the drugs. "This study would suggest that their risk is remarkably low. And that's good news," study author William Cooper, a professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, told the Associated Press. "I take care of kids all the time who are helped by these drugs." Nonetheless, the FDA still advises that kids on ADHD medications be monitored for changes in heart rate or blood pressure, and says that those with preexisting heart conditions should not use the drugs.

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U.S. News Ranks Best Diets for Healthy Eating

Today, U.S. News released its first-ever Best Diets for Healthy Eating, which ranks the safety and nutritional completeness of 20 popular eating plans . The DASH Diet came out on top. Other high-performers included the TLC Diet, Mediterranean Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, and Volumetrics Diet. Among the poorest performers were the vegan diet, Paleo Diet, Raw Food Diet, and Atkins.

--Best Diets for Healthy Eating

--Best Diets

What Makes a Healthy Diet?

Weight lost doesn't always equal health gained. That new diet that took inches off your waistline could be harming your health if it locks out or severely restricts entire food groups, like carbs, or relies on supplements with little scientific backing, or clamps down on calories to an extreme.

"People are so desperate to lose weight that it's really weight loss at any cost," says Madelyn Fernstrom, founding director of the UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center and author of The Real You Diet. And when that desperation sets in, says Fernstrom, "normal thinking goes out the window." Who cares if the forbidden-foods list is longer than War and Peace? Pounds are coming off. You're happy. But your body might not be.

You can check the nutritional completeness and safety of 20 popular diets ranked by U.S. News, from Atkins to Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers, in detailed profiles of each one. (The profiles also cover scientific evidence, typical meals, and much more.) And now U.S. News is introducing new rankings, Best Diets for Healthy Eating, that give each diet a "healthiness" score from 5 (best) to 1 (worst) for safety and nutrition, with safety getting double weight; while you can modify a diet to some degree to adjust for nutritional imbalances or deficiencies, mere tweaking won't make an unsafe diet safe. [Read more: What Makes a Healthy Diet?]

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