Dr Alison Poulton

Senior Lecturer Paediatrics
Paediatrics & Child Health, Nepean Clinical School

Telephone +61 2 4734 3363

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Biographical details

Dr Alison (Sally) Poulton is a paediatrician specializing in treating children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). She is Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics at Sydney Medical School Nepean and has clinics at Nepean Hospital, Penrith Child and Youth Mental Health Service and in private practice. She is Chair of the Stimulant Subcommittee of the NSW Ministry of Health.

Sally completed her undergraduate training at Girton College, University of Cambridge and Guy’s Hospital, London University in 1982. She trained in paediatrics in Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham UK before migrating to Australia, completing her advanced training in Melbourne and Sydney and gaining the FRACP in 1993. As well as rearing a family of four children, she has been working in Penrith and carrying out clinical research in children with ADHD since 1996.

Research interests

Sally was awarded her MD from the University of Cambridge in 2011. This was based on research into the collateral effects of stimulant medication on children’s height, weight, physical maturity and body composition. She is interested in the experience of reward in relation to achievement and has derived a model: the Mental Effort-Reward Imbalances Model of ADHD, to explain the relationship between ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. With the recognition of the behavioural similarities between obesity and ADHD in the areas of motivation, impulse control and perception of reward, she is now applying her experience in the use of stimulant medication to the treatment of obesity. This includes correlating the dose effects on executive functioning, mood, appetite and weight change.

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Current projects

Randomised controlled trial comparing dexamphetamine with placebo for treating obesity complicated by obstructive sleep apnoea.

Data linkage study of the reproductive outcomes of women with a history of treatment with stimulant medication.

Longitudinal study of growth, behaviour and cognitive functioning of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in relation to treatment with stimulant medication

Selected grants

2010

  • Nicotine induced foetal growth restriction: is it related to changes in endocrine pancreatic function?; Poulton A; Nepean Medical Research Foundation/Project Grant.

2008

  • Investigation of the effect of a single dose of stimulant medication on appetite and on fasting and; Poulton A; University of Sydney/Internal Scheme.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Poulton, A. (2012). Growth Monitoring on Psychotropic Medication. In Victor R. Preedy (Eds.), Handbook of Growth and Growth Monitoring in Health and Disease, (pp. 1737-1754). London, England: Springer.

Journals

  • Tripp, N., Hainey, K., Liu, A., Poulton, A., Peek, M., Kim, J., Nanan, R. (2014). An emerging model of maternity care: Smartphone, midwife, doctor? Women and Birth, 27(1), 64-67. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2014). Drugs for the treatment of obesity. JAMA, 311(17), 1807-1807. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2014). Review: no evidence that stimulant medication for ADHD influences lifetime risk of substance use or dependence. Evidence-Based Mental Health, 17(1), 16-16. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2014). The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder phenotype as a summation of deficits in executive functioning and reward sensitivity: does this explain its relationship with oppositional defiant disorder? Australasian Psychiatry, 22(2), 174-178. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Melzer, E., Tait, P., Garnett, S., Cowell, C., Baur, L., Clarke, S. (2013). Growth and pubertal development of adolescent boys on stimulant medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Medical Journal of Australia, 198(1), 29-32. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Liu, A., Nanan, R. (2012). Budesonide in preschool-age children with recurrent wheezing. The New England Journal of Medicine, 366(6), 570-570. [More Information]
  • Nanan, R., Poulton, A., Champion, B. (2012). Clinical pathways: a departure from the art of medicine. Medical Journal of Australia, 196(2), 96-96. [More Information]
  • Suresh, A., Liu, A., Poulton, A., Quinton, A., Amer, Z., Mongelli, M., Martin, A., Benzie, R., Peek, M., Nanan, R. (2012). Comparison of maternal abdominal subcutaneous fat thickness and body mass index as markers for pregnancy outcomes: A stratified cohort study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 52(5), 420-426. [More Information]
  • Oakeshott, P., Hunt, G., Poulton, A., Reid, F. (2012). Open spina bifida: birth findings predict long-term outcome. ARCHIVES OF DISEASE IN CHILDHOOD, 97(5), 474-476. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Briody, J., McCorquodale, T., Melzer, E., Herrmann, M., Baur, L., Duque, G. (2012). Weight loss on stimulant medication: how does it affect body composition and bone metabolism? -- A prospective longitudinal study. International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology, 30(1), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Babajanyan, A., Nanan, R. (2011). Restricted elimination diet for ADHD. The Lancet, 377(9777), 1567-1568. [More Information]
  • Eysbouts, Y., Poulton, A., Salmelainen, P. (2011). Stimulant medication in pre-school children in New South Wales. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 47(12), 870-874. [More Information]
  • Delsing, C., van den Wittenboer, E., Liu, A., Peek, M., Quinton, A., Mongelli, M., Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2011). The relationship between maternal opiate use, amphetamine use and smoking on fetal growth. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 51(5), 446-451. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2010). Oral megadose methylphenidate ingestion for suicide attempt. Pediatrics International, 52(5), 852. [More Information]
  • Maheshwari, R., Nair, A., Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2010). Smoking and brain development in preterm infants. The Journal of Pediatrics, 157(2), 346-347. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2010). Time to redefine the diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 47, 332-4. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2009). Age-related changes in motor subtle signs among girls and boys with ADHD. Neurology, 73(15), 1248-1249. [More Information]
  • Oakeshott, P., Hunt, G., Poulton, A., Reid, F. (2009). Expectation of life and unexpected death in open spina bifida: a 40-year complete, non-selective, longitudinal cohort study. Cerebrospinal Fluid Research, 6(Suppl 2), S4-S4. [More Information]
  • Oakeshott, P., Hunt, G., Poulton, A., Reid, F. (2009). Expectation of life and unexpected death in open spina bifida: a 40-year complete, non-selective, longitudinal cohort study. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, Online(DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03543.x), 1-5. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2009). Stimulant medications and growth. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(5), 574-576. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2008). Effects of Prolonged and Exclusive Breastfeeding on Childhood Behavior and Maternal Adjustment: Evidence From a Large Randomized Trial. Pediatrics, 122(2), 474. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2008). In the long run, skills are as good as pills for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Medical Journal of Australia, 189(5), 295-296. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2008). Measurement of Growth in Stimulant-Naive Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder by Using Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Approaches. Pediatrics, 122(1), 221. [More Information]
  • Nanan, R., Liu, A., Poulton, A. (2008). Nasal CPAP for Very Preterm Infants. New England Journal of Medicine, 358(23), 2520-2521. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Kwok, S., Nanan, R. (2008). Overweight in Children and Adolescents in Relation to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pediatrics, 122(4), 910. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2008). Prior treatment with stimulant medication: A much neglected confounder of studies of growth in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 18(4), 385-387. [More Information]
  • Nanan, R., Singh, G., Poulton, A. (2008). Reductions in Incidence of Invasive Group B Streptococcal Disease in the United States. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(14), 1649-1650. [More Information]
  • Nanan, R., Poulton, A. (2008). Routine Measurement of Head Circumference as a Tool for Detecting Intracranial Expansion in Infants. Pediatrics, 121(6), 1298. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2008). To the editor: efficacy of oral iron for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children with low ferritin levels. Pediatric Neurology, 39(1), 74-74. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Melzer, E. (2007). Changes in body composition on stimulant medication in 13 children (12 boys) with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 92(Supplement 1, G/TUES/END5), A14-A14.
  • Poulton, A. (2007). Effect of long-term treatment with stimulant medication on growth? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(3), 305 (Letters to the Editor)-305. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2007). Mistakes and misconduct in the research literature: retractions just the tip of the iceberg. Medical Journal of Australia, 186(6), 323-324. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2006). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, stimulants, statistics, and methodology. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 16(4), 507-508. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2006). Growth and sexual maturation in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 18(4), 427-434. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2006). Long-term outcomes of stimulant medication in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics: a key contribution to decision making in the treatment of neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders, 6(4), 551-561. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2005). Growth on stimulant medication; clarifying the confusion: a review. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 90(8), 801-806. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Halasz, G., Vance, A. (2003). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: Divergent perspectives (multiple letters). Medical Journal of Australia, 178(5), 247-248.
  • Poulton, A., Cowell, C. (2003). Slowing of growth in height and weight on stimulants: A characteristic pattern. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 39(3), 180-185.

2014

  • Tripp, N., Hainey, K., Liu, A., Poulton, A., Peek, M., Kim, J., Nanan, R. (2014). An emerging model of maternity care: Smartphone, midwife, doctor? Women and Birth, 27(1), 64-67. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2014). Drugs for the treatment of obesity. JAMA, 311(17), 1807-1807. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2014). Review: no evidence that stimulant medication for ADHD influences lifetime risk of substance use or dependence. Evidence-Based Mental Health, 17(1), 16-16. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2014). The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder phenotype as a summation of deficits in executive functioning and reward sensitivity: does this explain its relationship with oppositional defiant disorder? Australasian Psychiatry, 22(2), 174-178. [More Information]

2013

  • Poulton, A., Melzer, E., Tait, P., Garnett, S., Cowell, C., Baur, L., Clarke, S. (2013). Growth and pubertal development of adolescent boys on stimulant medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Medical Journal of Australia, 198(1), 29-32. [More Information]

2012

  • Poulton, A., Liu, A., Nanan, R. (2012). Budesonide in preschool-age children with recurrent wheezing. The New England Journal of Medicine, 366(6), 570-570. [More Information]
  • Nanan, R., Poulton, A., Champion, B. (2012). Clinical pathways: a departure from the art of medicine. Medical Journal of Australia, 196(2), 96-96. [More Information]
  • Suresh, A., Liu, A., Poulton, A., Quinton, A., Amer, Z., Mongelli, M., Martin, A., Benzie, R., Peek, M., Nanan, R. (2012). Comparison of maternal abdominal subcutaneous fat thickness and body mass index as markers for pregnancy outcomes: A stratified cohort study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 52(5), 420-426. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2012). Growth Monitoring on Psychotropic Medication. In Victor R. Preedy (Eds.), Handbook of Growth and Growth Monitoring in Health and Disease, (pp. 1737-1754). London, England: Springer.
  • Oakeshott, P., Hunt, G., Poulton, A., Reid, F. (2012). Open spina bifida: birth findings predict long-term outcome. ARCHIVES OF DISEASE IN CHILDHOOD, 97(5), 474-476. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Briody, J., McCorquodale, T., Melzer, E., Herrmann, M., Baur, L., Duque, G. (2012). Weight loss on stimulant medication: how does it affect body composition and bone metabolism? -- A prospective longitudinal study. International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology, 30(1), 1-9. [More Information]

2011

  • Poulton, A., Babajanyan, A., Nanan, R. (2011). Restricted elimination diet for ADHD. The Lancet, 377(9777), 1567-1568. [More Information]
  • Eysbouts, Y., Poulton, A., Salmelainen, P. (2011). Stimulant medication in pre-school children in New South Wales. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 47(12), 870-874. [More Information]
  • Delsing, C., van den Wittenboer, E., Liu, A., Peek, M., Quinton, A., Mongelli, M., Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2011). The relationship between maternal opiate use, amphetamine use and smoking on fetal growth. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 51(5), 446-451. [More Information]

2010

  • Poulton, A. (2010). Oral megadose methylphenidate ingestion for suicide attempt. Pediatrics International, 52(5), 852. [More Information]
  • Maheshwari, R., Nair, A., Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2010). Smoking and brain development in preterm infants. The Journal of Pediatrics, 157(2), 346-347. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2010). Time to redefine the diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 47, 332-4. [More Information]

2009

  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2009). Age-related changes in motor subtle signs among girls and boys with ADHD. Neurology, 73(15), 1248-1249. [More Information]
  • Oakeshott, P., Hunt, G., Poulton, A., Reid, F. (2009). Expectation of life and unexpected death in open spina bifida: a 40-year complete, non-selective, longitudinal cohort study. Cerebrospinal Fluid Research, 6(Suppl 2), S4-S4. [More Information]
  • Oakeshott, P., Hunt, G., Poulton, A., Reid, F. (2009). Expectation of life and unexpected death in open spina bifida: a 40-year complete, non-selective, longitudinal cohort study. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, Online(DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03543.x), 1-5. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2009). Stimulant medications and growth. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(5), 574-576. [More Information]

2008

  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2008). Effects of Prolonged and Exclusive Breastfeeding on Childhood Behavior and Maternal Adjustment: Evidence From a Large Randomized Trial. Pediatrics, 122(2), 474. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2008). In the long run, skills are as good as pills for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Medical Journal of Australia, 189(5), 295-296. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2008). Measurement of Growth in Stimulant-Naive Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder by Using Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Approaches. Pediatrics, 122(1), 221. [More Information]
  • Nanan, R., Liu, A., Poulton, A. (2008). Nasal CPAP for Very Preterm Infants. New England Journal of Medicine, 358(23), 2520-2521. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Kwok, S., Nanan, R. (2008). Overweight in Children and Adolescents in Relation to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pediatrics, 122(4), 910. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A., Nanan, R. (2008). Prior treatment with stimulant medication: A much neglected confounder of studies of growth in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 18(4), 385-387. [More Information]
  • Nanan, R., Singh, G., Poulton, A. (2008). Reductions in Incidence of Invasive Group B Streptococcal Disease in the United States. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(14), 1649-1650. [More Information]
  • Nanan, R., Poulton, A. (2008). Routine Measurement of Head Circumference as a Tool for Detecting Intracranial Expansion in Infants. Pediatrics, 121(6), 1298. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2008). To the editor: efficacy of oral iron for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children with low ferritin levels. Pediatric Neurology, 39(1), 74-74. [More Information]

2007

  • Poulton, A., Melzer, E. (2007). Changes in body composition on stimulant medication in 13 children (12 boys) with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 92(Supplement 1, G/TUES/END5), A14-A14.
  • Poulton, A. (2007). Effect of long-term treatment with stimulant medication on growth? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(3), 305 (Letters to the Editor)-305. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2007). Mistakes and misconduct in the research literature: retractions just the tip of the iceberg. Medical Journal of Australia, 186(6), 323-324. [More Information]

2006

  • Poulton, A. (2006). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, stimulants, statistics, and methodology. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 16(4), 507-508. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2006). Growth and sexual maturation in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 18(4), 427-434. [More Information]
  • Poulton, A. (2006). Long-term outcomes of stimulant medication in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics: a key contribution to decision making in the treatment of neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders, 6(4), 551-561. [More Information]

2005

  • Poulton, A. (2005). Growth on stimulant medication; clarifying the confusion: a review. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 90(8), 801-806. [More Information]

2003

  • Poulton, A., Halasz, G., Vance, A. (2003). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: Divergent perspectives (multiple letters). Medical Journal of Australia, 178(5), 247-248.
  • Poulton, A., Cowell, C. (2003). Slowing of growth in height and weight on stimulants: A characteristic pattern. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 39(3), 180-185.

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