Monday, March 14, 2011

ADHD and Diet

While ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) has not been an issue in our family, the topic has always intrigued me because I've known so many children affected by it. I distinctly remember one little boy in my third grade class. From the moment he walked through the classroom door in the morning, I could tell whether he'd taken his meds or not. Please note that as his teacher I did not suggest medication...but when present, his ADHD symptoms did have a significant impact on his ability to learn.

I'm intrigued by a new study published in The Lancet which indicates that for some children a restrictive diet may have a greater impact on ADHD than drugs. (No surprise, but interesting, nonetheless!) An NPR article says:

64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to food. Researchers determined that by starting kids on a very elaborate diet, then restricting it over a few weeks' time.

"It's only five weeks," Pelsser says. "If it is the diet, then we start to find out which foods are causing the problems."

Teachers and doctors who worked with children in the study reported marked changes in behavior. "In fact, they were flabbergasted," Pelsser says.

"After the diet, they were just normal children with normal behavior," she says. No longer were they easily distracted or forgetful, and the temper tantrums subsided.

Some teachers said they never thought it would work, Pelsser says. "It was so strange," she says, "that a diet would change the behavior of a child as thoroughly as they saw it. It was a miracle, a teacher said."

While diet may not work for everyone, it's still a fascinating bit of information to consider. While ADHD has not been a factor for my children, I have done periodic GF/CF restrictions for one child who seems to become more highly anxious or stressed with too much gluten.

Parenting is a constant source of questioning and intrigue...  Now, back to the lab... :)

P.S. Here's a link to the Lancet summary.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article. It's good to know such things when you are a teacher.


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