Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Study Strongly Links ADHD and Food Allergies

This post draws heavily on an NPR article published March 12, 2011  
This month a new study published  in The Lancet journal, strongly linked ADHD symptoms in children with food allergies. The study's lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands  was interviewed on NBRP and said that, "64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to food."  
Researchers determined this 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."
Dr. Pelsser added that teachers and doctors who worked with children in the study reported marked changes in behavior. "In fact, they were flabbergasted," Pelsser said. "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 added, "It was so strange, that a diet would change the behavior of a child as thoroughly as they saw it. It was a miracle, a teacher said."
Dr. Pelsser cautioned that diet is not the solution for all children with ADHD. "In all children, we should start with diet research," she says. If a child's behavior doesn't change, then drugs may still be necessary. "But now we are giving them all drugs, and I think that's a huge mistake," she says.
Also, Pelsser warned that altering your child's diet without a doctor's supervision is inadvisable.
"We have got good news — that food is the main cause of ADHD," she says. "We've got bad news — that we have to train physicians to monitor this procedure because it cannot be done by a physician who is not trained."
If you want to listen to the NPR interview, here is the link.

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