Friday, March 03, 2006

Fish Oil Improves Reading, Spelling, ADHD Behaviors?

Fish oil over stimulants???

From the UK, here's the Oxford-Durham study that finds fish oil (e.g. in health food stores or on pharmacy shelves) boosts single word reading scores, spelling, and ADHD-like behaviors. The study even included a crossover component.

"The first-line treatment for ADHD symptoms in most developed countries is methylphenidate, for which a recent meta-analysis found an overall effecti size of 0.78 on the Conners Index but little or no evidence of durability beyond 4 weeks of treatment. By comparison, in this study the effect sizes on this measure were 0.44 for the first 3 months and 0.70 over 6 months for children receiving fatty acid treatment throughout."

Hmm. Makes you think! This is an exciting result, and it will important to confirm on a broader scale. Many children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) also have sensory processing issues that result in very picky eating and uneven diets.

Maybe studies like these will reverse the trend of fewer physicians diagnosing children with apraxia or DCD. As it stands now, most of these kids (along with dyslexics) are swept into the ADD or ADHD behavioral camps. That's because most are not examined neurologically. If alternative treatments really work, then professionals need to look harder at individual differences in children.

BTW, DCD was referred to in the past as clumsy child syndrome, and minimal brain dysfunction. These kids usually have sensory sensitivities, low tone (slump over desks, fall out chairs), and problems with writing or dysgraphia. They can also have explosive spells, particularly in the early elementary school years.

Fish Oil, Reading, Spelling, and ADHD-Like Behaviors
Fish Oil and DCD Press Release

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