Friday, February 4, 2011

Diet and Attention

A small, but interesting study in the latest issue of The Lancet looks at the impact of diet on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children. Working on the hypothesis that diet might be a contributing factor in attention difficulties, researchers looked at children from 4-8 years of age who were placed on a limited diet of rice, meat, vegetables, potatoes, fruits, and wheat products. After 5 weeks more than 60 percent of the children showed improvement in their ADHD scores of at least 40%.

What is also interesting about this study is what it did not demonstrate: that restricting diets based on individual antibody testing (IGg tests) was of any use in reducing attention symptoms. There are some alternative medicine practitioners who do extensive IgG testing and then make recommendations based upon the results of such tests. In this study there was no evidence that the antibody testing correlated with symptoms.

It is important to keep in mind that this study of only 100 children is so small that it lacks what is called "statistical power". Also, the change in attention parameters was limited. Still, I expect that given the public interest in matters relating to attention this may be noted in the mainstream media. Although I view it with interest, I would not change practice based upon this article.

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