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J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2007 Feb;17(1):35-49.

Preliminary evidence of beneficial effects of methylphenidate on listening comprehension in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1Faculty of Education, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.



The effect of methylphenidate (MPH) on listening comprehension for information passages, and on working memory, was examined in a clinical sample of 16 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Drug effects on comprehension of spoken language at the levels of single sentences and passages, and on verbal and visual-spatial working memory (WM) skills were assessed over a 4-day placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover treatment trial of MPH at low, medium, and high doses. Concurrent behavior ratings were also completed. Data were analyzed at both group and individual levels; individual improvements using average change scores were analyzed to explore interrelationships among comprehension, WM, and behavioral responses to MPH.


There was a significant effect of drug on comprehension of inferences from challenging listening passages (F = 3.1, p ,0.05), and on visual-spatial working memory performance (F = 3.3, p ,0.05), with significant linear dose-response relationships evident for both domains. Individual improvements in comprehension using averaged placebo-dose change scores were not related to improvements in behavior with MPH, or to improvements in WM in this sample.


Findings provide preliminary evidence that MPH affects higher-level language comprehension skills, which require sustained attention and mental effort. If generalizable to classroom listening skills, these findings have implications for clinicians and teachers involved with children with ADHD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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