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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Food Additives Cause/Effect on ADD/ADHD

07/13/1999

Question:

Is there any substantial evidence behind the idea (theory?) that ADD or ADHD may be caused by food additives, such as preservatives and/or food colorings in todays food, which, in turn, would explain the rise in ADD or ADHD diagnoses? If so, where can I look for articles that ddress this topic?

Answer:

I know of no such evidence. I think many people working in the field of ADD/ADHD feel that the "increase" is primarily based on two things: 1. It was not well recognized, publicized, diagnosed or treated up until the last couple of decades. Once you have diagnaostic criteria for a medical problem (just "official" during this last decade) case discovery increases exponentially. 2. Our society puts more and more demands on us that tax persons with ADD/ADHD such as large parking lots where cars get misplaced or multi-tasking at the desk at an office, things done quit differently when today`s baby-boomers were growing up. To be an accomplished person now, more than ever in the past, takes attention and organization. There are many other theories about this. None have been proven. I only offer these as ones that make sense to many of us.

For more information:

Go to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati