Does oligoantigenic diet influence hyperactive/conduct-disordered children: a controlled trial


Schmidt MH




Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry


A crossover 'placebo'-controlled, double-blind design was used to examine the effectiveness of an oligoantigenic diet in 49 children with hyperactive/disruptive behavior disorder. Effects of diet were compared with those yielded by stimulant medication (methylphenidate). The study was conducted in an inpatient unit at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim. Change in behavior was measured in standardized situations by trained raters, including behavior assessment when testing with CPT and PAT, during a free play situation, and at school. Twelve children (24%) showed significant behavioral improvement in two behavior ratings during diet relative to control diet conditions. Methylphenidate used in 36 children yielded more responders (44%) than diet. The amount of positive changes in behavior in those who received both treatments was about the same. Although only effective in a minority of children, dietary treatment cannot be neglected as a possible access to treating hyperactive/disruptive children and merits further investigation.