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Could Fidgety Philipp be proof that ADHD is not a modern phenomenon?

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7467.643-c (Published 16 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:643
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. Abergavenny

    According to a new study Zappel-Philipp, a character in the 1846 children's book Struwwelpeter, is probably the first written mention of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by a psychiatrist.


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    Fidgety Philipp upsets his chair in an illustration from the 1846 children's book Struwwelpeter

    The book, written for his son by Dr Heinrich Hoffmann, founder of the first mental hospital in Frankfurt, contains a series of short stories about a boy called Zappel-Philipp, which translates as Fidgety Philipp.

    In a study in European Psychiatry …

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