Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prn6anlSO48
March 19, 2009 by Nancy Alvarez
LEE COUNTY: Every year, millions of children are medicated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but a local doctor says they could be misdiagnosed and taking drugs they don't need.
"He was such a good kid. So calm, so laid back, never argued," said Jenny Miner.
That's how Kenny Standish was before kindergarten.
Then he changed.
"A little overactive. A little bit hyper," said Miner. "When he would get upset he would just go in his room and tear everything off the walls."
Kenny's behavior worsened. By first grade he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
"I wanted him to feel well and do well in school," said Miner.
Miner set out on a road shared by millions of parents and medicated her son to control the ADHD.
"He calmed down and regained focus and we were hopeful and I thought okay. But then it wore off and we had to up the dose," said Miner.
Specialists followed, so did stronger medications.
"It made me feel dizzy. I was going across the room and it was going this way," said Kenny.
"I took it. The same dose and I kid you not, the kitchen floor went diagonal on me. I said that's it. This is not for children," said Miner.
Miner searched desperately for answers, but all along she had a hunch.
"Did I think he was born with what he had? No," said Miner.
It turns out she was right.
In his bloodwork, doctors saw bacteria around his cells. The bacteria match the symptoms of ADHD and are transmitted by ticks.
She learned he had bartonella, which caused his rage and temper flare-ups, and babesia, which caused him to feel miserable.
Dr. James Schaller is a leading researcher of parasites and infections passed on to humans by ticks.
He says bartonella and babesia are rarely discovered.
"It's going to be missed 99.9 percent of the time," he said.
Schaller says that's because most major labs don't have the time or technology to check for them.
"You may need 2 hours to see this and no lab will do this so it's routinely missed on a manual blood smear," said Schaller.
Schaller has written five books to raise awareness about babesia and bartonella. He has one simple message.
"You are at risk any place in the U.S., anyplace including Florida," said Schaller.
Dr. Schaller treated Kenny with medications including antibiotics.
Now there are no more episodes of rage, no hyperactivity or lack of focus.
"I feel a lot better," said Kenney.
Miner says it's now her mission to tell other people.
She says she remembers finding a tick on Kenny when he was just a few months old. Over the years they've spent around $200,000 on doctors and medications.
In the end- the special blood test that found the bartonella and babesia cost $265.
The Collier County Health Department is working to confirm Kenny's case with the CDC.