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Docosahexaenoic Acid for Reading, Cognition and Behavior in Children Aged 7–9 Years: A Randomized, Controlled Trial (The DOLAB Study)

Richardson, Alexandra J., Burton, Jennifer R., Sewell, Richard P., Spreckelsen, Thees, Montgomery, Paul (2012) Docosahexaenoic Acid for Reading, Cognition and Behavior in Children Aged 7–9 Years: A Randomized, Controlled Trial (The DOLAB Study). PLoS ONE, 7 (9). e43909. ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043909) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043909

Abstract

Background Omega-3 fatty acids are dietary essentials, and the current low intakes in most modern developed countries are believed to contribute to a wide variety of physical and mental health problems. Evidence from clinical trials indicates that dietary supplementation with long-chain omega-3 may improve child behavior and learning, although most previous trials have involved children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Here we investigated whether such benefits might extend to the general child population. Objectives To determine the effects of dietary supplementation with the long-chain omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on the reading, working memory, and behavior of healthy schoolchildren. Design Parallel group, fixed-dose, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (RCT). Setting Mainstream primary schools in Oxfordshire, UK (n = 74). Participants Healthy children aged 7–9 years initially underperforming in reading (?33rd centile). 1376 invited, 362 met study criteria. Intervention 600 mg/day DHA (from algal oil), or taste/color matched corn/soybean oil placebo. Main Outcome Measures Age-standardized measures of reading, working memory, and parent- and teacher-rated behavior. Results ITT analyses showed no effect of DHA on reading in the full sample, but significant effects in the pre-planned subgroup of 224 children whose initial reading performance was ?20th centile (the target population in our original study design). Parent-rated behavior problems (ADHD-type symptoms) were significantly reduced by active treatment, but little or no effects were seen for either teacher-rated behaviour or working memory. Conclusions DHA supplementation appears to offer a safe and effective way to improve reading and behavior in healthy but underperforming children from mainstream schools. Replication studies are clearly warranted, as such children are known to be at risk of low educational and occupational outcomes in later life.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043909
Subjects: H Social Sciences
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA784 Nutrition
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Thees Spreckelsen
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2015 10:55 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/47589 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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