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Purpose of review: This article provides an overview of current controversies in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) research, with an emphasis on recent findings that are directly relevant to clinical practice.

Recent findings: Over the past few years, a number of studies have added key evidence to ongoing debates about the epidemiology, nosology, and treatment of ADHD. Although the causes of the rising prevalence of ADHD in the USA are still not fully understood, recent research suggests that environmental factors and changes to the diagnostic criteria may have played a role. In addition, there continues to be controversy surrounding the clinical diagnosis of ADHD and newly recognized, related conditions such as sluggish cognitive tempo. Recent studies have also challenged previous assumptions about the long-term effects of stimulant treatment on growth, academic achievement, and substance use. Moreover, although most complementary and alternative therapies for ADHD appear to be ineffective, there is emerging evidence supporting the value of fatty acid supplementation. Although these findings are promising, more research is needed on all fronts.

Summary: Although research has shed light on unanswered questions about the epidemiology, nosology, and treatment of ADHD, much is still not known. An understanding of the most important current controversies in ADHD research may aid pediatricians in clinical decision making and allow them to counsel patients more effectively.

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