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« Kathleen Seidel Slapped With Unconstitutional, Illegal, Barred by the Journalist’s Privilege, and Needlessly Invasive Subpoena | Main | SIWOTI Syndrome »

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Comments

Sam

Very similar case in California right now with child psychiatrist Dr. William Ayres. They seem to be both molesting young boys from the same playbook. My heart goes out to the victims of both doctors.

John

The article does not mention that there have been two other sex abuse lawsuits against Levine in the 1980s. These were not cases of repressed memory. Please do not go down that road.

Sasha

What about his partner Ned Hallowell? ADHD is a fraud and medication is disastrous to children. My child suffered for years with medicated instead of treatment and it cost us a fortune and reuined our family. These men who profit at the cost of integrity should be jailed.

Liz Ditz

@John: Dr. Levine was the subject of a suit in 1988 (the height of the repressed memory era); it was dismissed; in 1993, a complaint (not a suit) was lodged against Levine with the state medical board. It was also dismissed.

@Sasha: to the best of my knowledge, Dr. Levine has no relationship with Dr. Hallowell. I am sorry that your child had a poor outcome, but medication is often needed.

My view is ADHD is definitely over-diagnosed in some areas, but underdiagnosed and treated in other areas.

Froelich et al. (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(9):857-864 ) Conclusions: Of US children aged 8 to 15 years, 8.7%, an estimated 2.4 million, meet DSM-IV criteria for ADHD. Less than half of children meeting DSM-IV criteria report receiv- ing either a diagnosis of ADHD or regular medication treat- ment. Poor children are most likely to meet criteria for ADHD yet are least likely to receive consistent pharmacotherapy.


As to the argument that ADHD is not a real condition, but the medicalization of normal behavior? In one sense, Steven Hinshaw agrees. Answering the question, Why do some psychologists claim that ADHD doesn't exist as a syndrome?" Hinshaw says:

"I believe that there are both good and bad reasons for this claim. The behaviors that comprise ADHD (inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity) are indeed part of normal development, so it is a real and valid question to wonder where the diagnostic cutoff should be. Also, the recent publicity about the rise in diagnosis and treatment makes many suspicious of 'over-medicalization'.

"On the other hand, the same issues, such as the normal distribution of constituent symptoms, and the difficulty of ascertaining cutoff points, pertain to many overtly "medical" conditions (for example, hypertension). Yet many people tend to see behavior as completely under one's volitional control. I believe that misinformation and the tendency to stigmatize persons with behavior disorders are the real culprits."

Later in the same interview:

"Perhaps one of the most shocking findings, says Hinshaw, has been that children with ADHD are the most disliked group of youngsters in any crowd—more so than children with depression, autism, or delinquent problems. Hinshaw explained to a group at last year's BrainConnection to Education spring conference that research has shown that peer rejection is the best predictor in young children of later problems in school, including dropout and mental health problems."


David Rabiner has some excellent resources for parents and clinicians. His discussion of the recently-completed Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA) is particularly clear. The MTA study found that for many children, a combination of behavior management training (for parents and for the child) plus very closely controlled medication made the biggest improvement.

There is no one correct way to treat ADHD.

Other authoritative sources of information:
NIMH on ADHD. Includes discussion of medication issues. Medline Plus on ADHD, also discusses medication National Resource Center on ADHD, a lay site sponsored by the largest national organization, CHADD.

John

Liz Ditz: Nowhere does it say that the 1988 lawsuit was the result of repressed memory syndrome.

I don't know about Massachusetts, but in California, where Dr. Ayres was arrested for molesting boys in his practise, the California Medical Board failed to take action and dismissed complaints from boys about Ayres. MEdical Boards are comprised of doctors who tend to cover for each other: in the case of a prominent doctor like Levine, they would be more inclined to dismiss a complaint, especially if it was from a troubled boy( pedophiles pick on these kinds of boys so they will less likely to be believed.)

Please do some homework on the Levine case. One 5 year old boy told his mother several years ago that Levine molested him, and the mother dismissed him.Ditto for the Dr. Ayres case in California - dozens of boys told their parents and they were disbelieved. Some parents did believe them and went to Dr. Ayres' partners, and Dr. Ayres' partners did not take action.

Some shrinks knew what Ayres was doing and instead of reporting him, just stopped sending kids to him.

Here's a story on Ayres. You will find the similarities between his MO and Levine's to be VERY striking... since they were both at Harvard at the same time in the 60s, one wouldn't be surprised if their paths crossed.
Chronicle story:
https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/06/MNGJOP45RF1.DTL

John

I would say that you are basing your argument about repressed memory as speculation as well. Did it ever occur to you that I might have an insider's knowledge of this case ?

Peter

This is a civil case (at this point, at least according to the article), not a criminal case, so the "Update" comments re "innocence until proven..." and "beyond a reasonable doubt" don't apply legally. Civil cases require a preponderance of the evidence.

But the principal of innocence should to us now, as none of us here have enough information to render any kind of judgement. Let's hope the jury does if it makes it that far. Both gold digging and "recovered memory" could be factors, and they of course should be raised as possibilities.

Alison

Gold digging ? Have any of you ever been deposed as a victim in a civil molestation suit ? Do you have any idea what they go through, and how their lives are raked over the coals ? I know many victims who were abused by doctors and it has been ABSOLUTE HELL to go through the civil suits. There are a lot easier ways to get money than to file a molestation law suit.

Don't judge until you've walked in their shoes.

Jill

Front page story in New york Times today on 43 men who have accused Dr. Levine of sexual abuse. Very similar to cases involving Dr. Don Lee Rife and Dr. William Ayres, who coincidentally were all traveling in the same Harvard Medical School circles together with Levine in the 1960s and have also been busted for molesting young boys. Dr. Rife was arrested and his medical license revoked in 1995; Dr. Ayres was arrested in 2007 and will stand trial for molesting boys in January 2008. One suspects that a criminal investigation into Dr. Levine is already underway.

Anonymous

There is an excellent blog that discusses the cases of both Dr. Mel Levine and child psychiatrist Dr. William Ayres:

www.williamayreswatch.blogspot.com

ann

ref: Levine
The New York time claims that the cases presented have been dismissed . Parents are required to be the room for examinations, and where does the number 43 come up, I only see 5 pending cases. There was never one complaint during the time of the alleged abuse

Sally

Ann: Sure there were complaints at the time of the abuse. Didn't you read the story?

And actually there are over 50 victims and at least ten pending cases.

No where does it say the cases were dismissed. basically, the complaints were ignored by Boston Childrens Hospital.

Better do your homework next time.

goglafiabe

oh la la !

MAZ

to date there have never been any cases brought to trial either in a civil or criminal court. All of this has played out in the media and nowhere else, which says something about the type of evidence (or lack of evidence) involved. At this point you could very well have a modern day "Crucible" going on here...without the actual trial part, that is. What if, perhaps, this is a witch hunt and this man is innocent? What has been done to his life and his work is irrecoverable. And, by the way, Levine's model for evaluating children's learning differences is actually non-labeling. He disliked the diagnosis of ADHD because it did not give students and families any insight into what was going on with learning or how to help. He took many children who had been misdiagnosed as ADHD off of medications because he could discern their real problems with memory or language functions which were often misunderstood and labeled as attention because modern medicine has little else to offer.

Racer Lee

Maz, you are absolutely wrong.

Maybe some families did not educate themselves on what ADHD meant in their child -- or themselves (ADHD is highly genetic, you know). But Levine did nothing more than tell them happy stories -- and in so doing perpetuated anti-psychiatry stigma about the diagnosis and the treatment.

It doesn't take a psychiatrist to see that Levine himself probably had ADHD. Certain anecdotes I've heard for years attest to his disorganization, his egotism, impulsivity, distractibility. In fact, he could not accept that he had ADHD -- it was too much of an ego insult -- and so he denied it. Just like he's denying the abuse. And, like all typical narcissists, blaming the victims. That's my opinion, and I have good reasoning behind it.

He was a marketer par excellence. A smooth talker. It's so easy to be confident when you are overly enamnored of your half-baked ideas, when you don't need to trouble yourself with proof or evidence, and when you don't give a flying rat's posterior what really happens to these kids in the future, when life doesn't "accommodate" their "learning style." What b.s.

Evaluate children's challenges and help them as best we can, yes. Submit to the slick talk of snake-oil salesmen like Levine? I'm sorry to see how many schools have bought his hokum and paid good money for it. More experimentation on our nation's children. Shameful stuff.

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