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Does ADHD come from foods?
February 3rd, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Does ADHD come from foods?

It's still a mystery, and parents and scientists alike are looking for answers about why some 5 million children in the United States have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition marked by impulsive behavior and a lack of focus. There have been genetic links shown, and plenty of accusations of misdiagnosis, but now the attention turns to a different explanation: Diet.

A team of scientists from the Netherlands set out to demonstrate in a study, published in the Lancet, that there could be a connection between what children eat and their ADHD-like behaviors. They go as far as to say that the standard of care for ADHD should include a restricted diet.

But the researchers did not pinpoint any specific foods that appear to induce ADHD symptoms, and their ideas must be explored further in other studies before being considered definitive, experts say.

"At this time it is very difficult to tell parents which foods to avoid," said Dr. Jaswinder Kaur Ghurman of the department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who was not involved in the study. It may vary by child, she said.

The diet experiments described in the paper focus on about 100 children with a diagnosis of ADHD aged 4 to 8. They were not selected for any food sensitivities. One group of these children spent five weeks on an "elimination diet." This began with a "oligoantigenic" diet - meaning, foods least likely to cause an allergic reaction - including meat, vegetables, pears, and water, as well as additional foods such as potatoes, fruits, wheat. For children whose behavior did not respond to that diet, foods were further limited to just a few.

Researchers found that 64% of children who participated in this diet group showed significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms, as observed by parents and teachers.

On this basis, they suggest that this elimination diet method could be a useful tool to see which foods might be causing a problem for the child.

But that means that 36% did not have a positive response to the diet or weren't compliant with it, not including the 16 other children who didn't want to participate at all. This raises larger issues about whether parents and children would actually comply with this treatment, says Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park, New York.

The researchers also did a blood test experiment measuring immune response, and concluded that it was not helpful in predicting which foods might be triggering ADHD symptoms.

Adesman criticized the study's design, noting that it lacked truly independent observers. Parents and teachers knew what the children were eating, and the pediatricians likely knew as well. Also, most children in the study were boys. Additionally, the results may not be applicable to children who do not have hyperactivity, but nonetheless exhibit the attention deficit problems of ADD. There is also no measure of safety or effectiveness for more than several weeks.

The issue of foods in ADHD is still controversial generally. Some research such as this has suggested diet as a cause, but there is no proof. Ghurman says it's possible that a child may already have some vulnerability, which particular foods may trigger. But more study must be done to further evaluate this theory.

Ghurman and Adesman agree that parents of children with ADHD should be aware of this research but that they should not attempt to try a restricted elimination diet alone. If you are interested in this line of ADHD treatment, talk to a pediatrician and only carry out such an intervention under his or her supervision.


soundoff (339 Responses)
  1. Dakulist

    this is old new

    February 4, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Dakulist

    joet do tell haha

    February 4, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Roy

    Eliminate meat, vegetables, pears and WATER!? Who comes up with this crud!? Seriously people. It's common sense. Eat right.... that means REAL food not prepackaged crap in a box.

    February 4, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jeff

    As someone who was diagnosed with ADD in the early 80's I have had a lot of personal experience with the disorder. Candy, shugary treats, shugery cerials and any of the red flavor treats always threw my hyperactivity into overdrive but even with the corn flake cherio no candy no sweets no soda limited koolaid diet I still had signs of hyperactivity but they were more controled and less all over the place. The same goes for a good 3 squares a day diet vs eating things like junkfoods.
    Does ADD come from food? No it's genetic and handed down from parent to child. Both me and my sister have it, my mother has it and my Uncle has it.
    Does food increase and contribute to the symtoms? Absolutly. Food is what fuels us. It give us strength and helth and it can take those very things away from us. Want to control ADHD? Eat a very healthy diet. Is add caused by food? No.
    Does sugar make non ADHD kids hyper? Yes it does...Duh.

    February 4, 2011 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jarod

      This is for Jeff. Just because everyone in your family has issues with focus, it doesn't mean there's some genetic disorder contributing to your lack of focus. There are many factors to consider that may be effecting everyone in your family. I maintain that it's not a genetic issue but a biological issue. Our bodies need proper nutrition to operate efficiently, as does every organism on this planet. The issue is a natural challenge we're presented with from birth and it's all about nutrition. What makes your family different from others? As I said, there are many factors involved. Labeling this issue as a genetics problem is hastey and ignorant.

      February 4, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
  5. Julie

    My son has ADHD and was tested for food allergies at age four...he was diagnosed as being allergic to yeast, eggs, soy and milk. The only one of these that made him get hyper was the yeast actually. He also got extremely hyper after having anything with red dye 40 in it. Almost everything for children has this dye in it from the liquid antibiotics, to their vitamins to over the counter medications...plus of course cereal, many juices...anything that targets children. Even when I got the dr to switch him to pills instead of liquid antibiotics it STILL had red dye 40 in it...which I thought was just insane. Why color a pill? The dye adds no flavor to the medication or food..its used to just make it 'look better'. The UK doesn't have these added dyes in them. I would ask them how many ADHD kids they have over there compared to here.

    I had to pay more to get dye free over the counter medication..and go to GNC to get dye free children's vitamins. Its nearly impossible to avoid this dye all the time and its not just the dye, but sugar too. Sugar is in nearly everything also. Even now with my son at age 15 if he has sugary foods too late in the evening he has problems sleeping. It took awhile to figure out what was going on but I finally did on that. I know the sugar companies says its just parents imagination that our kids get more hyper after having sugar....they aren't exactly being objective themselves by doing the studies themselves now are they?

    Give these kids some sugar cubes...with no dyes, nothing else added and have someone that doesn't know them observe the before and after they have the sugar (and don't let them see them eating the sugar either). Do the same thing with the dyes too. Add some red dye 40 to the sugar cubes on a different day after the first sugar gets out of there system. Alot of these kids crave sugar...they will sneak it at home and eat it right out of the sugar jar. None of them would object to eating sugar cubes.

    I don't think its so much the food itself that is the trigger, its the foods with things added to them which are nearly impossible to avoid even with fresh meat, fruits and vegetables there are always things injected into them (hormones, antibiotics in the meat) or sprayed on them that could also be affected the kids.

    Even though my son is on medication for ADHD if he has too much sugar..or drinks with dyes in them (its not just red dye 40 but other dyes can affect him too..the red is the worse though) he will be all over the place SO hyper! And its really tough on these kids because they don't understand their behavior annoys other people and it can be difficult for them to make friends and not be in trouble all the time. I hope these researches don't give up and keep looking. ADHD kids face alot of rejection from society but trying to excludes so many foods makes them feel like an outcast too. The food industry needs to change. Last I heard the FDA was considering stopping dyes from being added to our foods. I sure hope that happens. (and cut back on all the sugar too!)

    February 4, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ASMITH

      guess what doesnt have red dye in it...fresh friuts and vegebables...how many of those two items did you child go to school with today...I would walk around canada pantless if you can honestly say 3/4/5+

      All you parents need to realize EVERY processed food has added sugar, because companies can legally do so, and all things grown in the ground do not have added sugar, and actually have nutritious value to them.

      February 4, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  6. Garth

    Another cause for increase in #of ADD and/or ADHD is intentional labeling by parents in order to receive more disability income. Sad, but I'm convinced my sister is one of these people. There's nothing wrong with her kids, but she's got them labeled with ADHD, Dislexia and just about anything else that will add up to a few more $$ in her monthly check.

    As for my own kids, I've worked hard to teach them to make healthy choices. Our 3 year old already knows that places like Mcdonalds don't offer healthy choices. The biggest thing a parent can do is lead by example. Don't put your kid on a "diet" ...instead change the family habits.

    February 4, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dakulist

      I could do the same thing, but have chosen not to. sometimes i think im being stupid especially since i know peole in my situation (child-wise) that are well more off than I , and yet they collect social security benefits fo/from the child...

      February 4, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
  7. umm

    6 krispy creme donuts? wow slow down

    February 4, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. g

    Maybe? hmmmm I uhmmmm I don't know...What was the question again?

    February 4, 2011 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. MakesYouThink

    Hmm... Starve hyperactive children and they become lethargic? Interesting finding.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ASMITH

      you're not smart! Difference between starve, and feeding a child food that is natural, whole, fresh, no additives...SAY like a fruit or a veg, or even better 5+ a day.

      How many cans of pop/snack bars/chips/no activity/'easy meals' (michellin's etc...) has your child eaten this week?

      February 4, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  10. scottinphx

    Maybe I'm missing the point here but I have both ADHD and Chronic Depression. I don't think my diet caused these disorders but it certainly influences the symptoms. Processed foods, fatty foods and a carb heavy diet all cause flare ups of symptoms.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. David

    Food affects everything -

    February 4, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Herman

    The same kids who get prescribed ADHD drugs because they have a hard time focusing in school come home and play Call of Duty for 5 straight hours? ADHD is an excuse for unmotivated people. Those drugs are great to party on though so please keep them available.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ASMITH

      I wish there was a like button on this comment board because this is the exact argument that all the logical people are making and all the 'lazy', non-engaging parents are disputing here...you're kids A. have built up energy from all that sugar, crap food they are eating, and B. no using that energy up before or after going to school etc...

      Do my black lab need to be ran into the ground 2 times a day, otherwise he will off the wall hyper too? YESSSSS!!!!!

      February 4, 2011 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
  13. Susie

    Not sure about foods CAUSING this disorder, but there are studies linking omega-3s as helping improve symptoms of ADHD. A great snack that is high in omega-3s is Gudernoobs made by WooHoo Foods. Just 4 a day meets the daily recommended dosage of omega-3s. There are 4 varieties and my kids like the apple one and the peanut butter one.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. CNN is responsible

    Did CNN not learn anything from the autism/vaccine scandal????

    Why are you reporting the findings from a single study as public health information (which it is far from being)!!!!!!

    February 4, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • end of story

      Why is this in the Health section?????

      As you state CNN:

      The issue of foods in ADHD is still controversial generally. Some research such as this has suggested diet as a cause, but there is no proof. Ghurman says it's possible that a child may already have some vulnerability, which particular foods may trigger. But more study must be done to further evaluate this theory.

      February 4, 2011 at 13:20 | Report abuse |
  15. Jarrod

    I dont know why this is news and I say this because Ive personally felt the differences in my behavior/focus/mood with the different foods I eat. I made it a priority to be aware of this and it has helped me in my journey more than anything else. I have purposly eaten certain ingredients to understand the affects on my body. Its important to note that we have the same organs but can react differently to the same foods. Food is life and it affects us positively or negatively whether we like it or not – its not our choice. The real understanding is the one you have of yourself and not all these studies that are performed – not konwing 100% of the requirements. Understand oneself and have complete awareness of oneself – that is what i have found to be the most empowering.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Sam

    When I was a child my mother was told I was hyperactive. Along with this diagnosis they said:

    1. I would grow out of it.
    2. To avoid sugar, artificial colors, and flavors.

    That was 39 years ago.

    I am constantly amazed as to the amount of studies that are coming out saying things that we already know!
    I am also, consistently worried about the over medication and alarmist diagnosis’s that children and parents are being subjected to.

    I turned out fine. No drugs no psychiatrists.

    sd

    February 4, 2011 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. end of story

    Lets report on a single study in the Health section for which we state in the very article that "there is no proof"

    IRRESPONSIBLE

    February 4, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Susan

    I do not believe that diet CAUSES ADHD. I have two adult children with ADHD. The oldest one and first born has the most severe case. At birth, this child could not stay focused on nursing. I noticed this immediately. Yes you might say that many new mothers have trouble with nursing but I don't believe this was the case. She just would not focus on nursing. Something else would catch her attention, she would stop nursing, look around, and then become very frustrated because she had lost contact. I tried for a few weeks and could not get her to focus and had to resort to a bottle. I had plenty of milk and pumped for some time after that. My second child nursed immediately and did so for 8 months with no issues. I think it is in the genes in particular because there are so many other children/adults on both sides of our families that have this disorder some with additional learning disabilities. I did not think of ADHD at the time she was nursing, but after she was officially diagnosed at 5, it was clear to me that this was an issue that occurred from birth.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. end of story

    "but there is no proof"

    THATS NOT WHAT THE PHOTO SUGGESTS CNN!!!!

    February 4, 2011 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. mk

    I think in general we underestimate how much our food affects every aspect of our lives, from our physical health to our mental health. The amount of people on here claiming that their kids are better with a better diet proves it.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Ilya

    Try the information in two books, "Eat Right For Your Type," and "Live Right For Your Type." That is your blood type. If you eat what you need for your blood type, it will fix a lot of the issues you have.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. JB

    I disagree to a point about the correlation between ADHD and the consumption of food. I knew from the first couple months after my daughter was born that she was ADHD. You can't blame the food for causing ADHD, but I do agree that being on a stricter diet helps with certain symptoms of ADHD, you limit the sugar, you limit the hyperness. ANY child, adults as well, ADHD or not will have effects from preservatives and sugar in foods. That's just common sense.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • end of story

      This whole article is IRRESPONSIBLE journalism in the EXACT same vein as the reporting on the link between Autism and vaccines. It says in the article "but there is no proof" - so why is CNN pushing this study likes its public health information??????????????

      February 4, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  23. ADHD Dad

    I hope we don't miss the point. Changing the diet, changes the nutrient intake. Processed foods have no dietary magnesium. One study said that 95% of ADHD kids are magnesium deficient. It is much easier to supplement a kid with magnesium, zinc, B6 and C than to go through the whole elimination diet process. It works for a majority of children, so try taking a supplement first. If it doesn't help, then look into diet alternatives. That is what I did and my kid went from Special Ed to the the honor roll, just by taking additional magnesium, zinc, b6 and C.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • end of story

      the ONLY relevant point is this:

      "but there is no proof"

      February 4, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • ASMITH

      You know what else would provide your kids with proper nutritents? A proper diet, you tool! Beans, veg/fruit legumes, provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals you need in a day. All your teaching your kids is that taking motified pills/supplements their whole life is great for them. Learn to be a more involved parent and actually cook hardy foods for them.

      February 4, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • ADHD Dad

      LOL! I do. Problem is that the food doesn't contain the same amounts of nutrients as it did decades ago. This is because of the loss of nutrients in the soil and using potash as a fertilizer instead of organically replacing the lost nutrients. Some children simply can't get enough magnesium through diet alone. They have to supplement. In ten years we all will be supplementing. The U.S. NIH has already said that over 70% of the United States is magnesium deficient. It is only going to get worse.

      February 4, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
  24. Big_d

    Try eliminating artificial colors from tar based dyes if you want to see real results.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. end of story

    Yes - thats right - people get ADHD because of all these bogeymen putting poisons in our childrens food!

    Thats what I call a paranoid delusion. There is no proof. Like the article states verbation: NO PROOF.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. cassie mandrina

    children who "have" attention deficit disorder? Surely, your writer meant to write "have been diagnosed with" or "whose parents have been convinced that they have" or "whose teachers informed their parents that they have....". Truly, CNN ought to be more careful in shilling for the pharma industry.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. jeanine Nehrling

    interesting

    February 4, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Linda

    When I was in grade school we had about 32 children in each class. There were maybe two boys who were unruly, hyperactive and acted out on a regular basis. Now it is more than 50% of children. So the question is what is different from our diet then to current diets? The answer is obvious and simple and it IS related to food. When we were children in the late 50's and early 60's, we ate whole foods. Now the foods that we choose to eat – processed foods – are bombarded with chemicals, additives, fillers, etc. Corn syrup is in virtually every package or jar of food, check the labels. When the pregnant woman eats this garbage, she passes the chemicals on to her fetus. Why would anyone think that the Mother's diet would NOT affect the fetus? It is the same as drinking, smoking or taking drugs during pregnancy. By eating processed foods, the mother is basically taking drugs while pregnant. No surprise. Then the parents offer their kids all kinds of snack foods that are easy and fast and processed. We did not have these poisonous foods when we grew up. You can thank the food companies for causing ADHD. If you don't believe me, then throw away everything in the house that has any ingredient that you never heard of, or cannot pronounce – as these are all chemicals. Then feed your family food that has only food ingredients or simply whole foods. You will notice a huge difference and will lose weight in the process. Take responsibility people, you have a choice.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Vicki

    As a parent of a child who is diagnosed w/ADHD we found a Dr who doesnt believe in the diagnosis & believes that food, parenting & other factors are what causes ADHD. The first few years of her young life, we practiced better parenting (dicipline etc) and combined it w/foods. Now that she's in school we have her on low dose meds in combination w/parenting & food. Frankly, my 10 yrs of experience tells me that food plays a big part in her behavior. Red food coloring is a no no! Each child is different, but I have my own study results which tell me food plays a fraction of the part. They need to do additional studies on this subject. Food doesnt FIX the problem, but it certainly helps my daughter have less of a need for medication.

    February 4, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. mom (peggy)

    i knew it!!!

    February 4, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. leo

    talk about "voodoo science"...I wonder how I apply for my "grant" to do a similar study...They say foods are the cause of ADHD but can't tell you which ones or which are the best food groups to avoid in general or for your child specifically?? Then they add that sure this is a really bad study but adhd parents should embrace this research and have others build from it.
    It's akin to saying that the beach is down there somewhere, now go out and have someone build you a road.
    It's sounds like someone got some governmental research grants and then sat on their hands..time passed and then they rushed to some general conclusion without any proof. Probably another case of "publish or perish".

    February 4, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Tim T

    Hi All,

    First off, I have quite a bad case of ADHD. Being an Engineer by day, and a trainer / diet consultant by night, I have had the unique experience of varying all different aspects of my routine and diet. Something that nearly ALL studies miss, including the one mentioned here, is the metabolic type of the person. In my particular case, with my particular lean body mass, (which controls metabolism,) I need approximately 3,300 calories per day based on my specific activities. Of those calories, I need to have (approximately) 30% protein, 20% fats, and 50% carbohydrates.

    If I have more than 60% carbohydrates, my ADHD symptoms increase dramatically. I noticed that to date, no studies look at the participants as individuals. If I were to do a "canned" 2,000 calorie diet, I would have decreased immune system response, as well as increased ADHD symptoms. Why have the researchers failed to look into this? In my opinion, 90+% of researchers have NO experience with personalized diets, either in their own life, or with others.

    In a nutshell, as an adult with nearly 40 years experience with ADHD, I can say that most approaches are merely a shot in the dark. I encourage all people that have or know someone that has ADHD or ADD to experiment and find the right methods to deal with it. Everyone is unique, and there is no "canned" solution based on hereditary factors or otherwise. The complete person needs to be analyzed and balanced in order to manage the symptoms.

    I have also noticed that lack of sleep makes a difference, but isn’t that true for everyone?

    I would definitely consider having ADHD or ADD a gift and not a disability. I am able to make quick decisions, be more creative than just about anyone else, and see the "big picture" better than my colleagues. All because I have a gift they don't. But at what price? I had to work harder to learn what I know. But once it's in there, I am able to use the information more creatively than a non-ADD/ADHD person who is stuck thinking "inside the box."

    On a side not, ADD and ADHD has been shown to improve abilities in sports where quick decisions need to be made, such as football, motocross, etc... Drugs can actually hinder these responses! (See article referencd below)

    Reference:

    http://www.racerxvt.com/article/adhd-and-the-motocross-athlete

    Also, remember that just because someone is a doctor doesn't mean they know everything. It does mean they have been exposed to a lot more than the average person. But does that mean they know how to use that knowledge properly? Do they have the analytical skills to solve an ADHD/ADD issue? Not necessarily. As a parent or a person gifted with ADD or ADHD, use your judgment.

    February 4, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ann B

      Tim T,
      Thank you for your candid remarks. My daughter has ADHD and this is the first encouraging piece I have read! So thank you!

      Ann B

      March 10, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  33. FromAZ RN

    My daughter is 5th generation ADHD in my family. My grandfather was slapped with a ruler, my mother was labled "hard to handle" , I was told that "my problems" stemmed from being from a "broken home" ADHD'ers have different brains. With PET scans and MRI's brains can be mapped while people are performing different tasks. The connections between the parietal lobes (area above your ears) and the frontal lobe (behind your forehead) are much less in an ADHD brain than in a "normal" brain. Different linings around the brain are thicker and thinner in different places in ADHD people than the rest of the world. Food changing diets may help some and that's great but it doesn't help everyone. Organized activities and strict schedules help. Meds helped my daughter through jr. High but quit helping in High School and she quit taking them.

    It's my opinion that ADHD is a spectrum of slightly different conditions and somethings help some while not others. Yes some kids are overmedicated. I grew up with teachers who thought I was a pain in the butt because the more I tried to sit still and not talk the worse I got. I also think that the condition of the mother when she's carring the child can aggrivate it. My grandfathers mother was 43 and had diabetes. My mother chain smoked the whole time she was carrying me. I took the best possible care of myself and my daughter has less symptoms than the other 3 of us. In our case ADHD starts out as genetic and is complicated by the mother's condition and the environmental situationin my opinion. In our family we live with it and adapt. I thank God that the kids now don't have to spend all day sitting in 1 chair like I did and that teachers are taught different ways to teach kids who learn "differently" . It isn't caused by bad parenting, bad foods or TV. Lots of it is genetic. My daughter had the biggest imagination of anyone I've ever met and she plans to share this imagination when she graduates from college and teaches Kindergarten. We are creative "out of the box" thinkers. Wouldn't life be boring if everybody thought and felt the same!

    February 4, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Floris

    Duh.

    February 4, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Nicole

    Food/additives?! I don't think so! Are all of you really serious?!
    No, ADHD is a social disease caused poor parenting skills. It is easily observable on the UES of NYC where parents ignore their babies/children as they are behaving poorly. No need to develop an attention span if your parents/nannies ignore you/don't engage or reprimand you and let you do as you please. Why should you need to develop and hone a skill when you are brought up where that skill serves no purpose?
    Sitting in a restaurant on the UES today, I observed parents blatantly ignoring their children's poor (and easily correctable) behavior, while they chatted and discussed mundane matters such as high-end clothing sales and new I- phones (seriously). These children were throwing food, and old enough to know not to! But no, they just let them go right along without telling them once to stop! Why let their children become self-sufficient and able to handle a task at hand when that's what nannies and waitstaff are for? (or in some cases, push-over parents)
    No, ADHD doesn't come from food, it comes from the fact that children are never given the tools they need to be able to pay attention and behave properly. ADHD is an excuse for poor behavior, so their parents don't have to feel embarrassment at their lazy parenting methods.
    I don't imagine colonial/pioneer children ever suffered from such an awful affliction. Scientifically speaking, ADHD wouldn't offer an evolutionary advantage in more difficult times. Strict parenting was a necessity! Nowadays, god forbid we even yell at child! It would cause emotional scars! No rather, let's ask them to pay attention in school but let's not show them how.......Definitely a case of nurture over nature......

    February 4, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. FromAZ RN

    P.S. I know my great grandfather possibly had ADHD from the stories told about him. My grandfather's cousin also has symptoms of ADHD. We have creative minds,make quick decisions and can do more in less time than several people put together. Some researchers call the genetic aspect of ADHD "The Adventurer Gene" Since we cant sit still physically and mentally, we're always thinking about something new and different. It's my guess that without ADHD there would be quite a few less inventions and discoveries in this world, and the world would be much less without us.

    February 4, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. The Censorman

    More likely than that, it comes from the following:
    As the insidious trickle down poverty destroys the middle class, people need to create disabilities to qualify for aid including school budgets.
    So it's about money and the difficulty our political elite impose on us as they sell us out.
    Democrats keep people poor and Republicans make sure the corps that support them monopolize all markets.
    So much for starting your own small business as a solution.
    So theres no future and standard of living goes to 3rd world status as they loot us.
    So these smart kids are the result because there is no future. I don't see it, neither do they.
    Hence ADHD

    February 4, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Censorman

      Thats about 80% of it, I know people who cant function without the meds well.

      February 4, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  38. moderation

    Wow! What a crappy study ... what is going on with the Lancet? Not blinded, even though it would be easy to do so (with indepednent observers)... Over reaching conclusions (change in diet should be "the standard of care", after one study of 100 kids?!) ... laboratory studies that do not seem to confirm the theory ... and a non-specific diet recommendation that is extremely difficult to adhere to.

    February 4, 2011 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Mom with ADHD child

    All I glean from this poorly designed study and from the comments is that a person will believe what they want to believe. If you believe food, bad parenting, TV, etc...are the cause of ADHD you will find the evidence to back up your beliefs regardless of facts.

    February 4, 2011 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Feingold Mom

    "Nicole".... you opinions are baffling. All I can say is... WOW.

    February 4, 2011 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Bkool

    being an ADD person, who found out at 38 after having many poker session with satan in hell............ i can say that after researching this and attending med school level courses about the behavioral part mostly, i think i am expert at this horrible

    mess that continues into adulthood while some symptoms are minimized............. its there 100%. it ruined massive irreversible parts of my life, almost killing me before i diagnozed it myself before seeing a doc who gets it.

    8 out of 10 doctors with diplomas, at least regarding this are dumbos, don't trust docs before seeing what they know.

    if they say its a result of bipolar only, which it can as symptoms are similar, run ...don't look back you are dealing with a Neanderthal in ADD, also if you are told adults dont get it, run faster...... trust me on this like spf ..30 i saw so many i could write a book,. after this ADD intro..... the meaty chunks

    ADHD/ADD comes with different flavors, with the same main ingredients. its comes with severities than range from mild untraceable to very severe like mine as it knocked me out. literally, in class pain was beyond anything i have seen as an

    adult. its genetic in all cases minus brain injuries, concussions.... severity can change many symptoms ..... its not the conscious visuals missed, the brains has hidden eyes, that are more important ,,,, thant is what gives us perspective of things ...................

    there are two possibilities here, looking at it from a behavioral and structural side.

    – diet might affect but according to experts i have worked with there no proof of long term permanent results.............

    – the second this is that in psychiatry you have a tricky thing ..... unlike other health issues, the experienced patient knows more than the doctor at any point in time unless the doc is too. the ADD brain likes variety, anything that is different wakes it

    up. you see ADD people on their i phones day and night and their friends and family say enough ..... or they like to have multiple partners as the newness excites parts of the brain that lack dopamine like stuff......something novelties like apps

    etc...... movement in video games etc..... make the person feel good. it is a buzz that works if you keep on changing the diet..... in relationships a new partner gives the ADD person a level of pleasure regular people dont get, hence stories of affairs etc.... not always though....... its a bit like a 5 yrs old kid., who gets excited about a new 1 dollar toy................... and of course you have heard ADHD people called immature at times................

    a part of the brain is half dead, due to genetics that left the front lobe grow at a slower pace than others and stops at the same time as other parts............ its a growth defect ........... thankfully this defect is compensated by chemicals that restore levels. Amphetamines are not scary as they filling a void .......... not like club drugs ............ a void missing the natural stuff.

    peace ...........

    February 5, 2011 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CJC

      I couldn't agree with you more. I finally went to a psychiatrist to restart treatment for my chemical imbalance. I OFFICIALLY have Tourette Syndrome. Nearly 20 years ago I was diagnosed, and comorbid disorders weren't widely recognized like they are today (OCD & ADD). I take Adderall and finally feel somewhat NORMAL.

      The people against any pharmaceutical that increases dopamine levels are the ones that have NO IDEA what it's like to live with a physical and genetic disorder that affects every life every day. I don't like taking pills, but I love the positive effects they have on my social and productive areas. One day, I wish that doctors will be able to surgically correct my chemical imbalance, so that I can feel normal and experience natural satisfaction. Touretee, OCD and ADD aren't life threatening, but they are a threat to the peace of mind and happiness every human being deserves.

      February 8, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
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  47. Paola

    I too have a son diagnosed with ADHD and also Oppositional Defiant Disorder When he was 8 yrs old. He is now 22 and still takes meiaticdon daily. He has also been diagnosed with depression and takes meiaticdon for that. My husband and his father died in May of this year from Cancer and he has been having a really rough time. Like Michael he is rather tall and between the ages of 11 and 16 we had to stop meds as nothing could keep up with the rate of his growth. He went from about 5\'5 to 6\'6 in that time and was completely out of control. We went to many different drs for help and none were effective until we found his current dr. He is doing much better now and is holding down a good job and has had a girlfriend now for a year who is working with us to keep him on track and focused. It has been a very hard struggle but we are overcoming all the roadblocks that occur together and will continue to do so.Thanks for your information on ADHD I wish all this information had been available 15 yrs ago when we were going thru the worst of it!!!!!

    October 14, 2012 at 01:52 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.