Is ADHD a modern “invention,” created by computers, fast food, or even…Big Pharma? Recorded history says no. In fact, a recently discovered medical text from 1798 describes, in some detail, disorders of attention, including the observation that some are likely hereditary.
Physician Alexander Crichton (pictured right, at his Cambridge University graduation) provided the first known medical description of disorders of attention in his three-volume medical textbook. Moreover, “he certainly deserves credit for being the first to describe adults with attention disorders,” says ADHD expert Russell Barkley, Ph.D., writing a commentary about Crichton’s work and its modern relevancies in the February issue of The ADHD Report, a newsletter that follows research and trends in the field of attention disorders.
Until the discovery of Crichton’s three-volume textbook (by the two Washington University researchers who wrote a paper introducing it), most medical historians acknowledged physician George Still as providing the first description of symptoms of what we today call ADHD, in children.
Specifically, in his lectures before the Royal Society of Medicine and later writing for the medical journal Lancet in 1902, Still Read the rest of this entry »