Title

ADHD and Ritalin: Evaluation and Experimentation of the Disorder and the Drug

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

2002

Advisor

David Mitchell, Biology

Abstract

Millions of children and adults worldwide are diagnosed with Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and yet its very existence, definition, and treatment are surrounded with discord and controversy. It was this dissonance that provided inspiration for research and experimentation regarding this topic. Beginning with a comprehensive background research of the disorder and its treatments, the two are brought together through an investigation into the effects that the most commonly-used drug therapy has on two strains of rats: Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY) and Spontaneously Hypertensive rats (SHR). These rats were bred for their non-hyperactive and hyperactive characteristics respectively. The effects of the drug, methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin) on specific parameters of blood pH, blood glucose, erythrocyte membrane lipids, overall growth rate, and spatial working memory abilities were examined in these two rat strains over the course of the experiment. Although all four physiological properties remained constant and normal over the course of the experiment, the spatial working memory abilities were inhibited in the WKY rats receiving the drug which calls for further study.

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