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Diet and Developmental Delays


In a news story reported by the Europe Intelligence Wire, scientists say they have discovered that food supplements can dramatically improve the condition of children suffering from developmental disorders. Now supplements are to be given to children to try to tackle a range of disorders, including (poor fine motor skills like penmanship), hyper-activity and autism.

At a meeting at Trevelyan College, at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, unpublished evidence was presented that food supplements dramatically improve the behavior and concentration of children with developmental difficulties. Conditions including, or “clumsy child syndrome,” can cause devastating problems for youngsters as they grow, damaging their education and often resulting in social exclusion.

Researchers now believe that a significant proportion of the approximately 5% of the population who suffer from developmental disorders are missing vital elements in their diet. It is believed the general switch from breastfeeding and away from fresh food, fish, fruit and vegetable to more processed foods containing preservatives is making the trend worse. While about 80% of children in the affected group will respond to a program of therapy, 20% do not appear to benefit.

After papers were presented at the conference organized by the Foundation of Great Britain, experts believe that they may be able to treat this group by giving them fatty acids containing omega-3 and omega-6 oils. Dr Madeleine , who chairs the educational committee of the Foundation and is a senior educational psychologist at Durham, studied more than 600 children and adults with developmental problems. She found 18% had feeding difficulties or food intolerance. Delegates at the meeting heard that a small group of children in Oxford had made dramatic improvements within three months of being given food supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6 fats.

Dr plans to test the food supplement theory on County Durham children referred to her by school visitors, community nurses and parents.” It does look as if it is going to be dietary supplements that will make a difference to these children,” she said.

This duplicates the experience we have had in our office. The supplementation of fatty acids, however, needs to be individualized as an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids could be made worse by giving the wrong oil. The result is a worsening of behavior typically within a few days – weeks of supplementation. With regards to the 20% that appear to “not respond” are probably those with allergies, heavy metals, another type of nutritional imbalance, or an immune-problem such as a vaccine-related event. These are the children that warrant more in depth laboratory evaluation… Dr. K

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