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Artificial food colour exclusion and free fatty acid supplementation may reduce symptom severity in children with ADHD

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Question: Are dietary and pharmacological interventions effective for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Outcomes: Post-treatment change from baseline in total ADHD symptom severity as measured by ADHD-specific symptom scales (eg, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) ADHD subscale of Conner's Parent and Teacher Rating Scales) or if this was not available, questionnaire measures of ADHD-related dimensions (eg, inattention on Rutter parents’ and teachers’ scales) or direct observations.


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: Science Citation Index Expanded; Social Sciences Citation Index; Arts and Humanities Citation Index; Conference Proceedings Citation Index–Science and –Social Sciences and Humanities; Index Chemicus; Current Chemical Reactions; Current Contents Connect; Derwent Innovations Index; Biological Abstracts; BIOSIS Previews; CAB Abstracts and Global Health; Food Science and Technology Abstracts; Inspec; MEDLINE; Zoological Record; Ovid MEDLINE; PsycINFO; EMBASE; Web of Science; ERIC and CINAHL; searched from inception to April 2012. Articles were eligible if published in peer-reviewed journals. Search was supplemented by hand search of published reviews.

Study selection and analysis: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (including counterbalanced crossover designs) including children and adolescents (aged …

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  • Sources of funding Support for meetings and analyses was received from Brain Products GMBH, Janssen-Cilag, Lilly, Medice, Shire, and Vifor.


  • Competing interests None.

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