DHA improves literacy, behaviour & attention in children with ADHD better than EPA.
Objective: To investigate the effects of EPA, DHA or placebo on behaviour, cognition and literacy in children with ADHD, to determine if those with lower omega-3 status respond better and to correlate changes in PUFA status with changes in behaviour and literacy/cognition.
- Randomised, three way cross-over, triple-blind (investigators, children and parents), placebo-controlled trial.
- 90 children aged 6-12 years old diag- nosed with ADHD or with parent-rated symptoms >90th percentile on the Conners Parent Rating Scale (CPRS) and parent reported learning difficul- ties where literacy performance was behind their level in school.
- Given 4 X 500 mg capsules/day of either EPA-rich fish oil (1109 mg EPA & 108 mg DHA), or a DHA-rich fish oil (1032 mg DHA & 264 mg EPA) or placebo for 4 months each for a total of 12 months.
- Red blood cell (RBC) fatty acids status Primary Outcomes.
- Literacy using the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-III).
- Vocabulary performance using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.
- Parent Rated ADHD Symptoms using the long version of the CPRS.
- Various forms of attention using the Test.
- Everyday Attention for Children.
- Focused attention using the Sky Search Sustained attention using Score ! Tasks Ability to switch & control attention using Creature Counting.
- Divided attention by Sky Search & Score Tasks.
- Inhibition or ability to hold back a response using a computerized Go/No-go task.
Summary of Benefits Achieved
Conclusion: Increases in DHA status through supplementation may improve literacy and behaviour in children with ADHD with the greatest benefits in chil- dren having comorbid learning difficulties.
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