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Evaluation of how sugar influences ADHD in children.

Please evaluate the presentation, and provide comments and additional information about the topic. In essence, you are adding to the literature review conducted by the team members of the project.
Specifically,you should be looking for an additional article relevant to the topic and discussing its relevance to the topic. You may also include personal stories, discuss the impact of the issue on society, and what was interesting about the topic.
Be sure to reference at least one peer reviewed source that can be used by the project you are responding to.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of sugar on the behavior or cognition of children by using meta-analytic techniques on reported studies. DATA SOURCES: Studies were identified through a literature search of the MEDLINE and PsychINFO databases and the authors' files using sugar, sucrose, and attention deficit disorder as the search terms. STUDY SELECTION: Studies were required to (1) intervene by having the subjects consume a known quantity of sugar, (2) use a placebo (artificial sweetener) condition (3) blind the subjects, parents, and research staff to the conditions; and (4) report statistics that could be used to compute the dependent measures effect sizes. DATA EXTRACTION: Variables included publication year, study setting, subject type and number, gender, age, sugar and placebo type and dose, prior dietary condition, measurement construct, means and SDs for the sugar and placebo conditions, and direction of effect. DATA SYNTHESIS: Sixteen reports met the inclusion criteria for a total of 23 within-subject design studies. The weighted mean effect size and related statistics for each of the 14 measurement constructs revealed that although the range for these means was from -0.14 for direct observations and up to +0.30 for academic tests, the 95% confidence interval for all 14 mean effect sizes included 0.

"Use Team C-3-1.ppt (attached) to evaluate and provide additional comments and information about the topic.


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Evaluation and Comments:

The social psychology component can point to society/families preferring to look for answers in diet to relieve symptoms rather than to take an active role in consistent daily management of the child and their behavior which can be built around solid relationships within the family and school to manage the problem. How sugar influences ADHD is a controversial area. There are two sides to the argument. One side, belongs to the medical establishment claiming several studies showing that children do not react to sugar and sugar does not effect the behavior of children with ADHD. The other side consists of all the mothers and family members who witness on a daily basis a change in behavior when they give their children sugar. Is this a natural reaction to carbohydrate and metabolism of same? Or, is there something else going on? Perhaps an allergy to chemical food additives holds the answer for many of these children. One might also argue that there are different levels of activity in a child depending on their age and genealogy, and the issue may be one of perception and or comparison by the parents and other family members of other children who are similar developmentally to their own children. Returning to the "food allergy" position for a moment one can hypothesize that when you do not know about food allergies some symptoms and behaviors can come into question in your own mind. In my own experience when I know about certain food allergies I begin to see some common patterns that make sense to me. I think that one could argue that there is growing evidence that many chronic symptoms of ill health and even behavior change can come from an intolerance to certain foods. The medical establishment seems to be indifferent to this evidence, but the real difficulty is in the huge number of symptoms and the differences that can be seen from patient to patient. Having said this, the medical establishment continues to report all types of food intolerance that could be responsible for a myriad of symptoms and conditions. In some instances the affect can be seen as an occasional headache or issues with chronic fatigue, while on the other hand the child may not be able to function at all.

Evidence for the Medical Establishment

In 1985, Dr. Mark Wolraich published the most influential study demonstrating that sugar plays no role in ADHD. Wolraich's team examined 16 hyperactive children for three days. The researchers manipulated the sugar content of their diet, but found no effects on behavior or learning. The same group later published a review article and concluded "the few studies that have found effects have been as likely to find sugar improving behavior as making it worse."

In contrast to the presentation: TeamC-3-1. Please see a meta-analysis abstract done by the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Child Development Center.

The effect of sugar on behavior or cognition in children. A meta-analysis.

Wolraich ML, Wilson DB, White JW.

Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Child-Development Center, Nashville, TN 37232-3573, USA.

Comment in:

* JAMA. 1996 Mar 13;275(10):756-7.


OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of sugar on the behavior or cognition of children by using meta-analytic techniques on reported ...

Solution Summary

The meta-analytic synthesis of the studies to date found that sugar does not affect the behavior or cognitive performance of children. Additional findings indicate that aspartame at greater than 10 times usual consumption also has no effect on the cognitive and behavioral status of children with attention deficit disorder. A further explanation of what may really be going on is provided.