It has been known for some years that stimulant drugs, such as dextroamphetamine sulphate or amphetamine sulfate, may have a beneficial effect on school performance of hyperkinetic or emotionally disturbed children.1 Children treated with these stimulants rarely become excited, but rather tend to become more calm, purposeful, and organized in their behavior. In some children the alteration in behavior has been described as truly remarkable. Side effects—other than mild anorexia and insomnia—are rare, and these tend to diminish in most children, even with high dosage of the medication.
The behavorial and physiologic mechanisms responsible for the alleged learning enhancement of disturbed children treated with amphetamine are not well understood. In view of the early, dramatic clinical reports, continued clinical success, and absence of serious side effects, it is surprising that there is such a paucity of experimental studies. One recent study, reported in the October issue of the Archives