Diet and ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) is a debilitating neurological disorder characterized by the persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that affects a patient’s development 1,2. Patient’s with ADHD are at a higher risk of developing impaired academic performance, social isolation, peer problems, substance abuse, aggressive behavior, delinquency and the developments of more severe mental disorders. 3,4.

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Recent research has shown that patients suffering from ADHD may result in a decreased life expectancy with more than double the risk for premature deaths due to unnatural causes such as accidents, compared to people that do not have the disease 4. It can therefore be summarized that patients suffering from ADD/ADHD can seriously affect their quality of life negatively and even their family members. Unfortunately, ADHD is a complex multifactor disorder that contribute to its etiology, therefore, the cause of the disease although it is one of the most researched neurological disorder worldwide, is still unknow with no definitive cure currently available 5.

Genetics is one of the factors contributing to ADHD along with different negative environmental conditions and though controversial, diet is also thought to be a possible causation of this disorder 1. Currently, the standard therapies of ADHD include the use of medications as treatment or behavioral psycho-social therapies, where stimulants are the primal choice pharmacological treatment 6 with shown efficacy in the improvement of symptoms in the short term, but with persistent adverse effects in the long term 7. There has also been research on how diet can have a positive effect on the relieve of symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD. Exercise is another, novel and underexplored option for the management of ADD/ADHD 8. The general benefits of exercise have been observed in cognitive functions with enhanced focus, attention and information processing in animal studies as well as human studies 8. Therefore, the proposed aim for this research, is to address the question of whether exercise can actually have beneficial effects on the symptoms of ADHD and whether it should be considered as a method of treatment.

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