Skepchick Quickies: Equal Marriage Wins, Police Abuse, ADHD Medication Efficacy, and 1 in 4 Americans Need Science Classes

Happy President’s Day to my fellow Americans!

BONUS: Patrick Stewart performs a somber monologue as China’s dying moon rover. (From Andy.) This is magnificent and you need to watch it.


Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. What about 1 in 4 americans have studied relativity theory? I ask because in a universe where no absolute frame of reference exists, wouldn’t there technically be no correct answer to a question so poorly worded as “Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?”

  2. Re ?1 In 4 Americans Thinks The Sun Goes Around The Earth; when I saw similar poll numbers about a decade or more ago, it turned out it was a multiple choice question. It takes 365 days for: B. The sun to go around the earth, or D. The earth to go around the sun.

    If this poll was similar, maybe we Americans just have trouble paying attention.

  3. The ADHD article really interested me, especially because there are so many factors here. For non-randomized trials, kids with worse symptoms are more likely to be medicated, and in fact medicated right when symptoms are worst. For randomized trials, kids with bad outcomes (whether medicated or not) are more likely to drop out of the study. Stimulants are too risky (and obvious) to do long term blinded studies with. Kids also change more than adults; some seem to outgrow ADHD symptoms, needing reduced or no meds, while others need higher dosage to keep up with body weight or tolerance. And there are simple cases of misdiagnosis. And kids with ADHD are more likely to have parents with ADHD (and comorbid anxiety); going on medication is likely correlated with one’s parent going on medication as well. And many people have the medication wear off at night, which can be an issue for teenagers, who usually do more homework or studying later in the day than young children. And teenagers are more likely to experience chronic sleep deprivation, which interacts with both ADHD and stimulant use. And psychiatrists and therapists (even when not in studies) may attend more to newer, younger, or more obviously struggling patients.

    One thing I’d be interested in would be to see long-term studies on adults who take stimulants. That’s partly self-serving; I’m on methylphenidate myself (in fact, have only been on it as an adult, even though I was a difficult child at times). But it could also shed light in why long term efficacy in children is so poor. Does medication really help for a year and then stop, or are there developmental changes that factor in?

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