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Hyperactivity and the Feingold Diet

William L. Traxel, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(5):624. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290050087018.
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To the Editor.  — Mattes and Gittelman, in the June 1981 issue, concluded that administration of food dyes contained in cookies had no effect on hyperactive children (Archives 1981;38:714-718). The authors reviewed the literature and made value judgments on previous reports as to their significance and shortcomings.Thirteen children were included in this study. Seven (two of whom were dropped from the study) had continued hyperactivity on the Feingold diet. Three had behavioral disorders or irritability and had never been known to be hyperactive. Only three of the patients had a history of hyperactivity that was completely relieved by the Feingold diet at the time of evaluation.The authors admitted to several defects in the study. Four patients were too young to take the distractibility test, equipment failure occurred in two, failure to eat the full number of cookies occurred in three, and not teacher rating was included in one who was not in school.


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