Thursday, September 06, 2007

Food additives and hyperactivity?

Ouch! What a pain this will be if it's true.
Some Food Additives Raise Hyperactivity, Study Finds - New York Times

... Common food additives and colorings can increase hyperactive behavior in a broad range of children, a study being released today found. It was the first time researchers conclusively and scientifically confirmed a link that had long been suspected by many parents. Numerous support groups for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have for years recommended removing such ingredients from diets, although experts have continued to debate the evidence. But the new, carefully controlled study shows that some artificial additives increase hyperactivity and decrease attention span in a wide range of children, not just those for whom overactivity has been diagnosed as a learning problem....
I'll need to read the original article to decide how real this is, how large the alleged effect was, etc. It was a true randomized and ostensibly blinded study, so it's definitely interesting. I'd like to see some correlation from animal studies and, above all, we need the results to be replicated in other studies. I've seen some very strong results disappear on re-examination, and this is is a big enough deal that we need to know more.

It would be cool if we learn something new about how diet alters behavior, but I'm going to be pretty cautious for now. It'll be a few years before the essential secondary studies are complete. If I were to bet, I'd bet that the results won't hold up -- but I wouldn't bet much!

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