College Papers

A the study to boys to reduce “confounding

A
double blind, randomized controlled trial studied the effects of adding omega-3
polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) to the diet of young males with ADHD and
those without ADHD over a 16-week period. 
Forty boys between the ages of 8-14 with a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD
were enrolled via the Department of Psychiatry at the University Medical Center
in Utrecht.  Advertising was
also used to enroll participants.  A
qualified researcher through the “Diagnostic Interview Schedule for
Children-Parent Version” (DISC-P) authenticated the ADHD diagnosis. When
determining the inclusion criteria, the researchers decided to limit the study
to boys to reduce “confounding variables”.  The participants were either on no medications
or only taking methylphenidate, a psychostimulant.  They were to hold their medication 24 hours
before undergoing a fMRI scan.  Thirty-nine boys were selected to be part of a
reference group (RG) because they matched certain criteria that were similarly
seen in the treatment group (age, body mass index (BMI), hand preference). 1

                  The authors hypothesized that
adding Omega-3 PUFAs to the diet would mitigate symptoms of ADHD, increase
phospholipid PUFA levels, and increase “dopamine turnover.”  In addition, the authors expected to see an
increase in “cognitive control in ADHD” and further activated prefrontal and
striatal areas in the brain.  In the end,
participants were randomly sorted into either of 4 groups in the study:
Children with diagnosed ADHD getting placebo (N=20) or omega-3 PUFAs infused margarine
(N=20) and children in the RGs without ADHD also either receiving placebo
(N=19) or fortified margarine (N=20).  The participants were told to take 10 g of either
regular margarine or margarine supplemented with omega-3 containing 650 mg DHA
and 650 mg EPA per serving. Adherence was measured by weighing the remaining
product left on a monthly basis. Parents also recorded daily intake. Cheek
swabs were taken to measure fatty acid levels, samples of urine were used to
measure “HVA to creatinine ratio” to determine dopamine turnover, and fMRI
scans were done to look at the previously mentioned areas of the brain.  Lastly, the “Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)
and Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD symptoms and Normal behavior scale (SWAN)”
were used to assess symptoms and extent of ADHD in participants.1    

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                  Of the original 79
participants, 1 was excluded due to non-compliance and 2 failed to follow up.
 No changes were seen among the
children in either the treatment groups or reference groups in Age, hand preference,
BMI, and adherence percentage as shown by the p-values of 0.163, 0.422, 0.122,
and 0.573 respectively. With a p-value of