Depriving the World of Another Einstein

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If Albert Einstein (search) were growing up as a kid today, would he be put on Ritalin (search)?

Probably, given what we now know about young Albert's tendency to daydream, and the tendency of today's teachers to order up drugs for unfocused kids.

A Mayo Clinic study found that Ritalin prescriptions have risen 500 percent in the past 10 years, most of that going to kids. And who qualifies for the drug, which acts like speed to keep kids focused?

Almost any kid considered "hyperactive" or "inattentive" by teachers and administrators. The problem is that these terms are broad enough to include 16 percent of all students, and probably would have included young Albert Einstein.

So if Einstein had been drugged in school, would he have made his greatest discoveries? Probably not, says one psychiatrist:

"Deprived of his daydreams, he might not discover the theory of relativity, but he certainly would focus more on the complex demands of fourth grade math."

Maybe it's time we decided whether giving kids Ritalin to cut back on daydreaming is more important than depriving the world of another Einstein.

And that’s the Observer.

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