John Lavitt Article Review Sample Essay

John Lavitt Article Review Sample Essay.

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Critical Analysis

John Lavitt Article Review Sample Essay

Author John Lavitt in an article that he published in April 2014 discusses new findings about the use of Ritalin in children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). In a paper titled “Research shows Ritalin Causes Long-term Brain Injury”, the author discusses the long-term effects of Ritalin on the brain tissue. In the thesis statement of the paper, Lavitt points out that the injurious effects of Ritalin include but not limited to impulse control impairment, tendency to develop depression as well as cognitive deficits with prolonged use.

The author explains reviews several research papers to present his evidence about the association of the drug and brain injury and the drug. In the article, however, Lavitt expresses that further evaluation of the effects of the drug on the brain tissues of children is still ongoing. The main injury that the drug causes is to the frontal lobes of the brain that are responsible for emotion and behavior. The author analyses a research publications by the American College of Neuropharmacology, National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Journal of the American Medical Association, a report in the The New York Times and also presents discussions by Joan Baizer, a renowned researcher of University of Buffalo.

The sources that the author mentions in his article are randomized controlled trials, cohort and experimental studies as well as case studies. Randomized controlled trials present high level evidence that is reliable and useful in formulation of practice recommendations and guidelines. The authors approach is that of critical analysis of the articles with specific attention to the long-term effects of Ritalin in children receiving treatment for ADHD. The advantage of incorporation of evidence from several sources helps defending the thesis, giving the paper a strong basis of argument. The writer of the article further adds strength to the evidence by including a review by the research expert Joan Baizer.

The essays major claims are that Ritalin causes brain injury to children exposed to the drug for during long-term treatment for ADHD. Lavitt explains that there Ritalin, which shares structural similarity with cocaine causes a progressive brain damage, especially in the frontal lobe. The manifestations of brain injury due to Ritalin slightly differ from its short-term effects which include nervousness, nausea, and awareness of heartbeats, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure and lightheadedness (Lavitt, 2014). The author supports this claim by explaining that contradictory information released by Journal of the American Medical Association denies that Ritalin does not cause long-term effects to the users.

The writer uses cause and effect to describe the results of long-term use of Ritalin. He explains the view of Professor Joan Baizer that most clinicians consider the effects of Ritalin as only short lived but do not accommodate the idea that the drug can have damaging effects to the brain in the long run. The writer proposes that the effects of Ritalin are possibly caused by the active metabolites of the drug or may be as a result of toxic substrates that interact with ligands in the neuronal tissue. Toxic metabolites of Ritalin lead to destruction of cellular structure of the neurons, which may result in clinical manifestations such as depression, cognitive impairment and alterations of behavior (Lavitt, 2014). Such effects are paradoxical for a drug that is aimed at alleviating symptoms of ADHD in children. The findings that the author discusses, however, do not dispute the therapeutic advantage of Ritalin in the short-term use.

One of the sources that the author uses reveals that Ritalin has long-term effects on animal models. According to the findings of a research were mice were used as subjects, a relationship was shown between the use of Ritalin and physical damage in the brain reward centers. The damaging effects of the drug on mice are similar to those of cocaine. 

The author’s methodology involves the use of secondary sources for his article. He analyses several research papers from medical journals, newspaper (The New York Times) and also presents the response by one of experts in research, Professor Joan Baizer. The author documents the sources that he uses by mentioning them in his paper but does not put forward the method he uses to gauge the expertise of such sources. The author does not provide papers that offer contradictory information in regard to the topic of discussion. He refrains from mentioning studies that do not associate Ritalin with long term effects. The author does not, therefore, provide quality controls.

The indications for bias in this article are that the author does not provide information regarding researches outside his claims. The article is merely one-sided and does not discuss research papers that may have contradictory findings on long-term use of Ritalin. The questions I would want to ask the author are: After what duration of Ritalin does brain damage occur? Are there specific dosages that have been linked development of neuronal damage? What prognostic factors point to likelihood for brain injury in children taking Ritalin?

In conclusion, the author presents his findings in an organized manner. The different paragraphs of the paper have topic sentences and have supporting evidence that expound further on the thesis. The methodology that the author uses provides credible sources that include papers from medical journals and expert opinion. Gauge the viability of the sources, I used the information presented about where the author retrieved them. I also confirmed the sources and their content to establish their validity.


Lavitt. J. (2014). “Research Shows Ritalin Causes Long-term Brain Injury.” The Fix Retrieved From:

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