ADHD ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER IN CHILDREN MAY BE CAUSED BY HYPERSENSITIVITY TO FOOD INGREDIENTS..
Hyperactivity. Fidgeting. Inattention. Impulsivity. If your child has one or more of these qualities on a regular basis, you may be told that he or she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. If so, they'd be among about 10 percent of children in the United States.
Kids with ADHD can be restless and difficult to handle. Many of them are treated with drugs, but a new study says food may be the key. Published in The Lancet journal, the study suggests that with a very restrictive diet, kids with ADHD could experience a significant reduction in symptoms.
The study's lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands, writes in The Lancet that the disorder is triggered in many cases by external factors — and those can be treated through changes to one's environment.
"ADHD, it's just a couple of symptoms — it's not a disease," the Dutch researcher tells All Things Considered weekend host Guy Raz.
The way we think about — and treat — these behaviors is wrong, Pelsser says. "There is a paradigm shift needed. If a child is diagnosed ADHD, we should say, 'OK, we have got those symptoms, now let's start looking for a cause.' "
Pelsser compares ADHD to eczema. "The skin is affected, but a lot of people get eczema because of a latex allergy or because they are eating a pineapple or strawberries."
According to Pelsser, 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."
But diet is not the solution for all children with ADHD, Pelsser cautions.
"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 warns, 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."
And as usual there would be people who object to this for their own personal reason.
Here are two comments
Pelsser said there is no such disease as ADHD, and that two-thirds of kids who have attention and hyperactivity problems actually have a sensitivity reaction to certain foods. The solution, she says? They just need to limit what they eat.
Well, that interview prompted many of you to comment on our website. Some listeners welcomed the study, but others raised red flags. Kris De Lisle(ph) wrote: Very large-scale, double-blind studies have demonstrated that medication is a reliable mode of treatment for ADHD. Doctors have expressed concern about this particular study because it could not be structured as a double-blind study. This is the equivalent of reporting that vaccines cause autism.
And Carol Paton(ph) wrote: The purported link between diet and ADHD was thoroughly disproved long ago in well-designed studies. Genetics, not foods, are heavily implicated in ADHD. This study's results will not stand up to replication and verification, and its publication misinforms parents sincerely trying to help their children with ADHD.
Saying ADHD is genetic is like saying type 2 DM among the Indians is genetic, and they have spent millions of dollars to find a gene responsible for type 2 DM among the Indians without any result.
No one wants to take responsibility for the quality of the food, the amount of pesticides and herbicides and other chemical, like enriched wheat flour? What is that?
Do pesticides on fruits and veggies cause ADHD?
A new study finds a link between the pesticides in non-organic produce and the country's ADHD epidemic
posted on May 18, 2010, at 1:30 PM
Could pesticides affect the way your child learns? Photo: Corbis
In what could be a clue to the mysterious rise of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in kids, researchers have linked even low levels of a common pesticide to the disruptive behavioral disease. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, looks at the organophosphate pesticide malathion, commonly used on fruits and vegetables. (Watch an ABC report about the ADHD study.) Here, a brief guide to the findings:
How big a problem is ADHD?
An estimated 3 percent to 7 percent of U.S. children are believed to have ADHD, with boys much more likely to be affected. The rate has mushroomed over the past 30 to 40 years, but it's unclear whether the actual incidence ADHD has increased or whether the condition was underdiagnosed in the past.
What did the study find?
The researchers looked at urine samples from 1,139 kids age 8 to 15. The 119 who were diagnosed with ADHD also tended to have the highest concentrations of malathion in their urine. And it didn't take much of the pesticide to raise ADHD risk considerably.
Is it conclusive?
No, but it is pretty suggestive. Previous studies of specific high-risk groups — like the children of farmworkers — have shown that substantial exposure to pesticides can affect brain development. The new research is evidence that the broader public could also be at risk. Epidemiologist Brenda Eskenazi of the University of California-Berkeley says the new study is "interesting and provocative … because the levels of pesticide are very low." Pesticide manufacturers caution that more study is needed to prove a causal link from malathion to ADHD.
What can I do, as a consumer, if I'm concerned?
Buy organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible, especially with pesticide-heavy produce like strawberries, raspberries, and peaches. Also, get rid of bug spray and other pesticides in your house, and pesticides you might use to maintain your lawn and garden.
What if organic produce is unavailable, or just too expensive?
The Environmental Working Group says that, based on government data, these fruits and vegetables are relatively safe, even if not certified organic: Onions, avocados, fresh local corn ears, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwis, cabbage, eggplant, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and, surprisingly, tomatoes. Always wash produce under running water before eating it.
As early as 1999, studies were published about lower income and ADHD but of course scientific studies are ignored in front of the publicity for ADHD and the medications for its treatment
Psychosocial and Clinical Correlates of ADHD in a Community Sample of School-Age Children
Accepted 2 March 1999.
To identify the psychosocial and clinical correlates of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a community sample of children and to examine the validity of a subclinical form of ADHD.
The sample of 449 children (mean age 9.2 years, SD1.78; 53.6% boys) participated in the second stage of a community survey. Of these, 359 (80%) screened positive at stage 1. On the basis of a structured diagnostic interview with a parent, children were classified into 1 of 3 mutually exclusive groups: ADHD (n = 89), subthreshold ADHD (n= 100), and non-ADHD (n = 260).
As measured by the Children's Global Assessment Scale, the ADHD group was more impaired than the subthreshold group, which was more impaired than the non-ADHD group (p < .05 for each test). Children in the ADHD group were more likely to be male, to have mothers with a history of psychiatric treatment, to have fathers with a history of excessive alcohol use, and to live in low-Income families with higher levels of family dysfunction (p < .05 for all variables). A model containing male gender, family dysfunction, and low income was most predictive of ADHD status (p < .01). ADHD was also associated with psychiatric comorbidity, especially disruptive behavior disorders.
These results support a dimensional approach to ADHD. More severe forms of ADHD are associated with psychosocial adversity and psychiatric comorbidity. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 1999, 38(8):976–984.
It is easy to prescribe the medications rather than
think about the income and social inequalities. That is unfortunate indeed for the Children…