Fatty acid deficiency as a factor in adolescent attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
This thesis is an investigation of red blood cell fatty acid status, serum hormone levels, dietary patterns, behavioural assessment and overall health in male and female adolescents aged 10--16 years, with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD subjects (n=11) presented with significantly higher mean raw scores versus controls (n=12) on 10 out of the 14 Corners' Parent Rating Scales. Analysis of red blood cell phospholipids identified significantly lower DHA (22:6n-3), total omega-3 fatty acids and n-3: n-6 ratios in ADHD subjects when compared to controls. The ADHD group consumed significantly more total energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, saturated fat, trans fatty acids, vitamins B1 and B2, iron and sodium (per day) when compared to controls. There were no significant differences in serum hormone levels. Additional research is warranted to further elucidate the effects of differences in fatty acid status and diet patterns on the manifestations of ADHD.