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ADHD or Immaturity? New Research Argues That Children Are Being Overdiagnosed

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 5 percent of American children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by patterns of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. However, a new study of hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese children, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, suggests that some children may be overdiagnosed and overprescribed when, in fact, they are just more immature than their classmates, the BBC reports.

The study looked at 378,881 children in Taiwan between the ages 4 and 17 over a 14-year period to determine if there was a correlation between age and diagnosis. They discovered a trend between the date of a student's birthday, the birthday-cutoff for the school year (August 31), and an ADHD diagnosis. Children born in August (the youngest) were more likely than the children born in September (the oldest) to be diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication. The authors write that the younger students in a given grade are the “most developmentally immature” relative to their peers, which may “play a crucial role in the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD and receiving ADHD medication among children and adolescents.”

Chairman of ADHD Foundation, Kuben Naidoo, told The Telegraph that the study “highlights the importance of ensuring the assessment for ADHD is rigorous and relies on a variety of sources of information,” but added that “the issue is not as simple as assuming that age, as an indicator of neurocognitive maturity, influences ADHD symptoms.”

Visit the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to learn more about the disorder as well as how it is diagnosed and treated.

[h/t The BBC]

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11-Year-Old Creates a Better Way to Test for Lead in Water
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In the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, a Colorado middle schooler has invented a better way to test lead levels in water, as The Cut reports.

Gitanjali Rao, an 11-year-old seventh grader in Lone Tree, Colorado just won the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, taking home $25,000 for the water-quality testing device she invented, called Tethys.

Rao was inspired to create the device after watching Flint's water crisis unfold over the last few years. In 2014, after the city of Flint cut costs by switching water sources used for its tap water and failed to treat it properly, lead levels in the city's water skyrocketed. By 2015, researchers testing the water found that 40 percent of homes in the city had elevated lead levels in their water, and recommended the state declare Flint's water unsafe for drinking or cooking. In December of that year, the city declared a state of emergency. Researchers have found that the lead-poisoned water resulted in a "horrifyingly large" impact on fetal death rates as well as leading to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that killed 12 people.

A close-up of the Tethys device

Rao's parents are engineers, and she watched them as they tried to test the lead in their own house, experiencing firsthand how complicated it could be. She spotted news of a cutting-edge technology for detecting hazardous substances on MIT's engineering department website (which she checks regularly just to see "if there's anything new," as ABC News reports) then set to work creating Tethys. The device works with carbon nanotube sensors to detect lead levels faster than other current techniques, sending the results to a smartphone app.

As one of 10 finalists for the Young Scientist Challenge, Rao spent the summer working with a 3M scientist to refine her device, then presented the prototype to a panel of judges from 3M and schools across the country.

The contamination crisis in Flint is still ongoing, and Rao's invention could have a significant impact. In March 2017, Flint officials cautioned that it could be as long as two more years until the city's tap water will be safe enough to drink without filtering. The state of Michigan now plans to replace water pipes leading to 18,000 households by 2020. Until then, residents using water filters could use a device like Tethys to make sure the water they're drinking is safe. Rao plans to put most of the $25,000 prize money back into her project with the hopes of making the device commercially available.

[h/t The Cut]

All images by Andy King, courtesy of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

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Here's How to Turn an IKEA Box Into a Spaceship
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Since IKEA boxes are designed to contain entire furniture items, they could probably fit a small child once they’re emptied of any flat-packed component pieces. This means they have great potential as makeshift forts—or even as play spaceships, according to one of the Swedish furniture brand’s print ads, which was spotted by Design Taxi.

First highlighted by Ads of the World, the advertisement—which was created by Miami Ad School, New York—shows that IKEA is helping customers transform used boxes into build-it-yourself “SPÄCE SHIPS” for children. The company provides play kits, which come with both an instruction manual and cardboard "tools" for tiny builders to wield during the construction process.

As for the furniture boxes themselves, they're emblazoned with the words “You see a box, they see a spaceship." As if you won't be climbing into the completed product along with the kids …

Check out the ad below:

[h/t Design Taxi]

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