Study: Diet May Help ADHD Kids More Than Drugs

Here we go again! NPR has come up with something they claim is the opposite of what they said two days ago.

Here is their story: Study: Diet May Help ADHD Kids More Than Drugs

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.

I’m not convinced this new study is scientifically significant. In reading the full report: http://www.adhdenvoeding.nl/cms/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Pelsser-The-Lancet-2011-Publication-INCA-study.pdf

If you go to page 11 and look at the limitations of the study you will find that the double blindness part of the test is bogus. The parents that administered the food to the kids also were involved in the reporting of results along with teachers and pediatricians who knew the individual test status. Sounds like self fulfilling prophesy to me.

I’m not saying it does not work, only the proof is suspect.

Additionally for you to try this on your child the report says this “Therefore, we think that dietary intervention should be considered in all children with ADHD, provided parents are willing to follow a diagnostic restricted elimination diet for a 5-week period, and provided expert supervision is available. Children who react favourably to this diet should be diagnosed with foodinduced ADHD and should enter a challenge procedure, to define which foods each child reacts to, and to increase the feasibility and to minimise the burden of the diet. In children who do not show behavioural improvements after following the diet, standard treatments such as drugs, behavioural treatments, or both should be considered.”

It is my contention that few parents are capable of this or will be able to hire the appropriate “expert supervision”. In addition any parent willing to go through the expense and effort most likely will be quite biased toward the outcome.

This comes to a value judgement for the parent and health care provider. Ultimately a cost benefit analysis needs to be considered along with the politics.

The efficacy of drug intervention is proven over decades with virtually no ill affects provided the MD’s and parents properly monitor and adjust medications as needed.
There is no physical harm in the dietary restrictions and if they fail traditional drug treatments can be administered. In the event drug treatments are not effective in the patient than it is prudent to give diet therapy a chance.

Many government and insurance company policies designed to prevent diversion (prescription being used for other than prescribed purpose or someone other than the patient) or for financial reasons may limit availability of either method.

This really underscores the importance of getting educated on the matter and working with your health care providers to determine what is reasonable, possible, available and prudent for your particular situation. It important for everyone involved to keep an open mind and do what works for the patient. As parents we have an obligation to treat are children to minimize future damages caused or made worse due to inappropriate treatment. In other words your child will be worse as an adult if you don’t do your best to manage the condition as a child.

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Study: Diet May Help ADHD Kids More Than Drugs — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Proven Health News » Blog Archive » Study: Diet May Help ADHD Kids More Than Drugs

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