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A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effects of supplementation with highly unsaturated fatty acids on ADHD-related symptoms in children with specific learning difficulties.

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  • 1University Department of Physiology, Oxford, England, UK. alex.richardson@physiol.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

(1) The authors tested the prediction that relative deficiencies in highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) may underlie some of the behavioral and learning problems associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by studying the effects of HUFA supplementation on ADHD-related symptoms in children with specific learning difficulties (mainly dyslexia) who also showed ADHD features. (2) Forty-one children aged 8-12 years with both specific learning difficulties and above-average ADHD ratings were randomly allocated to HUFA supplementation or placebo for 12 weeks. (3) At both baseline and follow-up, a range of behavioral and learning problems associated with ADHD was assessed using standardized parent rating scales. (4) At baseline, the groups did not differ, but after 12 weeks mean scores for cognitive problems and general behavior problems were significantly lower for the group treated with HUFA than for the placebo group; there were significant improvements from baseline on 7 out of 14 scales for active treatment, compared with none for placebo. Group differences in change scores all favored HUFA, reaching conventional significance levels for 3 out of 14 scales. (5) HUFA supplementation appears to reduce ADHD-related symptoms in children with specific learning difficulties. Given the safety and tolerability of this simple treatment, results from this pilot study strongly support the case for further investigations.

PMID:
11817499
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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