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Neurologia. 2019 Dec 26. pii: S0213-4853(19)30132-X. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2019.09.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Impulsiveness in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder after an 8-week intervention with the Mediterranean diet and/or omega-3 fatty acids: A randomised clinical trial.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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Research Centres in Nutrition and Health, Madrid, España. Electronic address:
Research Centres in Nutrition and Health, Madrid, España.
Hospital El Escorial, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, España; Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, España.



The Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) is a self-administered instrument designed to assess the personality/behavioural construct of impulsiveness. Impulsiveness has been associated with several psychiatric disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study assesses the progression of impulsive behaviour in children with ADHD after an 8-week dietary intervention with the Mediterranean diet and/or omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, by using a version of the 11-item BIS adapted for children (BIS-11c).


This cross-sectional study includes 60 children with ADHD from the region of Madrid, Spain. Participants were divided into 4 groups, with one control group (G1) and 3 intervention groups (Mediterranean diet [G2]; omega-3 supplementation [G3]; and Mediterranean diet plus omega-3 supplementation [G4]). A personalised Mediterranean diet was designed for members of groups 2 and 4. The BIS-11c was administered to determine the level of impulsiveness, and the KIDMED test was used to assess adherence to the Mediterranean diet.


The supplementation group showed a fairly significant decrease in the total BIS-11c (P=.049). Total cognitive score slightly decreased in the diet and supplementation groups. Only the control group showed a considerable decrease in the total motor score. Total nonplanning scores were lower in all groups after the intervention. Baseline and final BIS-11c scores were positively correlated with treatments (r>0.9).


An intake of 550mg EPA fatty acid and 225mg DHA fatty acid per day for 8 weeks is associated with less marked impulsive behaviour in children with ADHD. A Mediterranean diet may improve BIS scores, although our results are not conclusive in this population.


Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; Barratt Impulsiveness Scale; Children; Dieta mediterránea; Escala de Impulsividad de Barratt; Impulsiveness; Impulsividad; Mediterranean diet; Niños; Omega-3; Trastorno por déficit de atención e hiperactividad

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