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Hyperactivity: Medical Treatments

Volume 460: debated on Monday 14 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department has conducted into the use of (a) diet and (b) brain exercises to control developmental conditions such as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. (132314)

The new National Institute for Health Research South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and Institute of Psychiatry Biomedical Research Centre, funded by the Department, will research mental health disorders starting in childhood, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This will include work on cognitive therapy.

The Medical Research Council, one of the main agencies through which the Government support biomedical research, currently supports a broad portfolio of research relevant to ADHD. A number of the programmes in the portfolio are directly relevant to the hon. Gentleman’s question and to ADHD more generally, and include research on the interaction of physical, environmental and social factors and on rehabilitation.

The Food Standards Agency has published a systematic review of evidence on the effect of diet and nutrition on learning, education and performance in school aged children. This included studies examining ADHD symptoms. Overall, the review concluded that there is insufficient evidence to reach a firm conclusion on the effect of specific nutrients or foods on learning or performance.

The link between diet and cognitive function is a key theme of the Food Standards Agency’s Nutritional Status and Function research programme. Research completed to date has found no clear association between the two.