http://medicalwritingtraining.com/Myth: ADHD medications “anesthetize” ADHD children.
The idea here is that the drug treatment of ADHD is no more than a chemical straightjacket intended to control a child’s behavior to be less bothersome to parents and teachers. After all, everyone knows that if you shoot up a person with tranquillizers they will calm down.
Fact: ADHD medications are neither anesthetics nor tranquillizers.
The truth of the matter is that most ADHD medications are stimulants. They don’t anesthetize the brain; they stimulate it. By speeding up the transmission of dopamine signals in the brain, ADHD medications improve brain functioning, which in turn leads to an increased ability to pay attention and to control behavior. The non-stimulant medications improve signaling by norepinephrine. They also improve the brains ability to process signals. They are not sedatives or anesthetics. When taking their medication, ADHD patients can focus and control their behavior to be more effective in school and work and in their relationships. They are not “drugged” into submission.

Myth: ADHD medications cause drug and alcohol abuse
We know from many long-term studies of ADHD children that when the reach adolescence and adults they are at high risk for alcohol and drug use disorders. Because of this fact, some media reports have implied that their drug use was caused by treatment of their ADHD with stimulant medications.
Fact: ADHD medications do not cause drug and alcohol abuse
It is true that some ADHD medications use the same chemicals that are found in street drugs such as amphetamine. But there is a very big difference between these medications and street drugs. When street drugs are injected or snorted, they can lead to addiction, but when they are taken in pill form as prescribed by a doctor, they do not cause addiction. In fact, when my colleagues and I examined the world literature on this topic we found that, rather than causing drug and alcohol abuse, stimulant medicine protected ADHD children from these problems later in life. One study from researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts General Hospital found that the drug treatment of ADHD reduced the risk for illicit drug use by 84 percent. These findings make intuitive sense. These medicines reduce the symptoms of the disorder that lead to illicit drug use. For example, an impulsive ADHD teenager who acts without thinking is much more likely to use drugs than an ADHD teen whose symptoms are controlled by medical drug treatment. After we published our study, other work appeared. Some of these studies did not agree that ADHD medications protected ADHD people from drug abuse but they did not find that they caused drug abuse.

Myth: Psychological or behavior therapies should be tried before medication.
Many people are cautious about taking medications and that caution is even stronger when parents consider treatment options for their children. Because medications can have side effects, shouldn’t people with ADHD try a talk therapy before taking medicine?
Fact: Treatment guidelines suggest that medication is the first line treatment.
The problem with trying talk or behavior therapy before medication is that medication works much better. For ADHD adults, one type of talk therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) is recommended, but only when the patient is also taking medication. The Multimodal Treatment of ADHD (MTA) study examined this issue in ADHD children from several academic medical centers in the United States. That study found that treating ADHD with medication was better than treating it with behavior therapy. Importantly, behavior therapy plus medication was no more effective than medication alone. That is why treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent recommend medicine as a first line treatment for ADHD, except for preschool children. It is true that ADHD medications have side effects, but these are usually mild and typically do not interfere with treatment. And don’t forget about the risks that a patient faces when they do not use medications for ADHD. These untreated patients are at risk for a worsening of ADHD symptoms and complications.

Myth: Brain abnormalities of ADHD patients are caused by psychiatric medications
A large scientific literature shows that ADHD people have subtle problems with the structure and function of their brains. Scientists believe that these problems are the cause of ADHD symptoms. Critics of ADHD claim that these brain problems are caused by the medications used to treat ADHD. Who is right?
Fact: Brain abnormalities are found in never medicated ADHD patients.
Alan Zametkin, a scientist at the US National Institute of Mental Health was the first to show brain abnormalities in ADHD patients who had never been treated for their ADHD. He found that some parts of the brains of ADHD patients were underactive. His findings could not be due to medication because the patients had never been medicated. Since his study, many other researchers have used neuroimaging to examine the brains of ADHD patients. This work confirmed Dr. Zametkin’s observation of abnormal brain findings in unmedicated patients. In fact, reviews of the brain imaging literature have concluded that the brain abnormalities seen in ADHD cannot be attributed to ADHD medications.
 

REFERENCES
Wilens, T., Faraone, S. V., Biederman, J. & Gunawardene, S. (2003). Does Stimulant Therapy of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Beget Later Substance Abuse? A Meta-Analytic Review of the Literature. Pediatrics 111, 179-185.

Humphreys, K. L., Eng, T. & Lee, S. S. (2013). Stimulant Medication and Substance Use Outcomes: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry, 1-9.

Chang, Z., Lichtenstein, P., Halldner, L., D’Onofrio, B., Serlachius, E., Fazel, S., Langstrom, N. & Larsson, H. (2014). Stimulant ADHD medication and risk for substance abuse. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 55, 878-85.

Nakao, T., Radua, J., Rubia, K. & Mataix-Cols, D. (2011 ). Gray matter volume abnormalities in ADHD: voxel-based meta-analysis exploring the effects of age and stimulant medication. Am J Psychiatry 168, 1154-63.

Rubia, K., Alegria, A. A., Cubillo, A. I., Smith, A. B., Brammer, M. J. & Radua, J. (2014). Effects of stimulants on brain function in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Biol Psychiatry 76, 616-28.

Spencer, T. J., Brown, A., Seidman, L. J., Valera, E. M., Makris, N., Lomedico, A., Faraone, S. V. & Biederman, J. (2013). Effect of psychostimulants on brain structure and function in ADHD: a qualitative literature review of magnetic resonance imaging-based neuroimaging studies. J Clin Psychiatry 74, 902-17.

ADHD and Diet

http://medicalwritingtraining.com/If we are to believe what we read on the Internet, dieting can cure many of the ills faced by humans. Much of what is written is true. Changes in dieting can be good for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney stones to name just a few examples. But what about ADHD? Food elimination diets have been extensively studied for their ability to treat ADHD. They are based on the very reasonable idea that allergies or toxic reactions to foods can have effects on the brain and could lead to ADHD symptoms.

Although the idea is reasonable, it is not such an easy task to figure out what foods might cause allergic reactions that could lead to ADHD symptoms. Some proponents of elimination diets have proposed eliminating a single food, others include multiple foods and some go as far to allow only a few foods to be eaten so as to avoid all potential allergies. Most readers will wonder if such restrictive diets, even if they did work, are feasible. That is certainly a concern for very restrictive diets.

Perhaps the most well-known ADHD diet is the Feingold diet (named after its creator). This diet eliminates artificial food colorings and preservatives that have become so common in the western diet. Some have claimed that the increasing use of colorings and preservatives explains why the prevalence of ADHD is greater in Western countries and has been increasing over time. But those people have it wrong. The prevalence of ADHD is similar around the world and has not been increasing over time. That has been well documented but details must wait for another blog.

The Feingold and other elimination diets have been studied by meta-analysis. This means that someone analyzed several well controlled trials published by other people. Passing the test of meta-analysis is the strongest test of any treatment effect. When this test is applied to the best studies available, there is evidence that exclusion of food colorings helps reduce ADHD symptoms. But more restrictive diets are not effective. So removing artificial food colors seems like a good idea that will help reduce ADHD symptoms. But although such diets ‘work’, they don’t work very well. On a scale of one to 10 where 10 is the best effect, drug therapy scores 9 to 10 but eliminating food colorings scores only 3 or 4. Some patients or parents of patients might want to try this diet change first in the hopes that it will work well for them. That is a possibility, but if that is your choice, you should not delay the more effective drug treatments for too long in the likely event that eliminating food colorings is not sufficient. You can learn more about elimination diets from: Nigg, J. T. and K. Holton (2014). “Restriction and elimination diets in ADHD treatment.” Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23(4): 937-953.

Keep in mind that the treatment guidelines from professional organizations point to ADHD drugs as the first line treatment for ADHD. The only exception is for preschool children where medication is only the first line treatment for severe ADHD; the guidelines recommend that other preschoolers with ADHD be treated with non-pharmacologic treatments, when available. You can learn more about non-pharmacologic treatments for ADHD from a book I recently edited: Faraone, S. V. & Antshel, K. M. (2014). ADHD: Non-Pharmacologic Interventions. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, xiii-xiv.
ADHD Foods ADHD diet
Feingold diet

Stephen_Faraone_PhD_AIA_2016_XM7MQd

Are Nonpharmacologic Treatments for ADHD Useful?

There are several very effective ADHD medications, and treatment guidelines from professional organizations view these drugs as the first line of treatment for people with ADHD symptoms.  (The only exception is for preschool children where medication is only the first line treatment for severe ADHD; the guidelines recommend that other preschoolers with ADHD be treated with non-pharmacologic treatments, when available.)

Despite these guidelines, some parents and patients have been persuaded by the media or the Internet that ADHD drugs are dangerous and that non-drug alternatives are as good or even better. Parents and patients may also be influenced by media reports that doctors overprescribe ADHD drugs or that these drugs have serious side effects. Such reports typically simplify and/or exaggerate results from the scientific literature.  Thus, many patients and parents of ADHD children are seeking “natural remedies for ADHD.” 

What are these non-pharmacologic treatments and do they work?  

My upcoming series of blogs will discuss each of these treatments in detail.  Here I’ll give an overview of my evidenced-based taxonomy of nonpharmacologic treatments for ADHD described in more detail in a book I recently edited (Faraone, S. V. & Antshel, K. M. (2014). “ADHD: Non-Pharmacologic Interventions.” Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, xiii-xiv.).  I use the term “evidenced-based” in the strict sense applied by the Oxford Center for Evidenced Based Medicine (OCEBM; http://www.cebm.net/). 

Most of the non-drug treatments for ADHD fall into three categories: behavioral, dietary, and neurocognitive.

Behavioral interventions include training parents to optimize methods of reward and punishment for their ADHD child, teaching ADHD children social skills and helping teachers apply principles of behavior management in their classrooms.  Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a method that teaches behavioral and cognitive skills to adolescent and adult ADHD patients.

Dietary interventions include special diets that exclude food colorings or eliminate foods believed to cause ADHD symptoms.  Other dietary interventions provide supplements such as iron, zinc or omega-3 fatty acids.

Neurocognitive interventions typically use a computer based learning setup to teach ADHD patients cognitive skills that will help reduce ADHD symptoms.

There are two metrics to consider when thinking about the evidence-base for these methods.  The first is the quality of the evidence.   For example, a study of 10 patients with no control group would be a low quality study, but a study of 100 patients randomized to either a treatment or control group would be of high quality, and the quality would be even higher if the people rating patient outcomes did not know who was in each group. 

The second metric is the magnitude of the treatment effect.  Does the treatment dramatically reduce ADHD symptoms or does it have only a small effect?  This metric is only available for high quality studies that compare people treated with the method and people treated with a ‘control’ method that is not expected to affect ADHD.

I used a statistical metric to quantify the magnitude of effect. Zero means no effect and larger numbers indicate better effects on treating ADHD symptoms.  For comparison, the effect of is about 0.9, which is derived from a very strong evidence base.     The effects of dietary treatments on symptoms of adult ADHD are smaller, about 0.4 to 0.5, but because the quality of the evidence is not strong, these results are not certain and the studies of food color exclusions apply primarily to children who have high intakes of such colorants.

In contrast to the dietary studies, the evidence base for behavioral treatments is excellent but the effects of these treatments of ADHD symptoms is very small, less than 0.1.    Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids also has a strong evidence base but the magnitude of effect is also small (0.1 to 0.2).    The neurocognitive treatments have modest effects on ADHD symptoms (0.2 to 0.4) but their evidence base is weak.

This review of non-drug treatments explains why ADHD drug treatments are usually used first.  Their evidence base is stronger and they are more effective in reducing ADHD symptoms.  There is, however, a role for some non-drug treatments. I’ll be discussing that in subsequent blog posts.

If you are health professional, you can learn more about screening, diagnosing and treating ADHD with the latest evidence-based medicine.  Earn FREE CME on Adult ADHD.

If you are a member of the public, you can download a FREE SCREENER and take it to your healthcare professional for a discussion.  If you provider does not know about ADHD, and many don’t, them please send him or her to ADHD in Adults.com

References :

Faraone, S. V. & Antshel, K. M. (2014). ADHD: Non-Pharmacologic Interventions. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, xiii-xiv.

Faraone, S. V. & Antshel, K. M. (2014). Towards an evidence-based taxonomy of nonpharmacologic treatments for ADHD. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, 965-72.

Stephen Faraone, PhD, ADHD in AdultsMyth: The ADHD diagnosis is very much “in the eye of the beholder.”
This is one of many ways in which the ADHD diagnosis has been ridiculed in the popular media. The idea here is that because we cannot diagnose ADHD with an objective brain scan or a blood test, the diagnosis is “subjective” and subject to the whim and fancy of the doctor making the diagnosis.
Fact: The ADHD diagnosis is reliable and valid.
The usefulness of a diagnosis does not depend on whether it came from a blood test, a brain test or from talking to a patient. A test is useful if it is reliable, which means that two doctors can agree who does and does not have the disorder, and if it is valid, which means that the diagnosis predicts something that is important to the doctor and patient such as whether or not the patient will respond to a specific treatment. Many research studies show that doctors usually agree about who does and does not have ADHD. The reason for this is that we have very strict rules that one must use to make a diagnosis. Much work over many decades has also shown ADHD to be a valid diagnosis. For details see: Faraone, S. V. (2005). The scientific foundation for understanding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as a valid psychiatric disorder. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 14, 1-10. The short story is that the diagnosis of ADHD is very useful for predicting what treatments will be effective and what types of problems ADHD patients are likely to experience in the future.

Myth: ADHD is not a medical disorder. It’s just the extreme of normal childhood energy
The mental health professions use the term “disorder” to describe ADHD, but others argue that what we view as a disorder named ADHD is simply the extreme of normal childhood energy. After all, most healthy children run around and don’t always listen to their parents. Doesn’t the ADHD child or adult simply have a higher dose of normal behavior?
Fact: Doctors have good reasons to describe ADHD as a disorder
The idea that the extreme of a normal behavior cannot be a disorder is naïve. Consider hypertension (high blood pressure). Everyone has a blood pressure, but when blood pressure exceeds a certain value, doctors get worried because people with high values are at risk for serious problems, such as heart attacks. Consider depression. Everyone gets sad from time to time, but people who are diagnosed with depression cannot function in normal activities and, in the extreme, are at risk for killing themselves. ADHD is not much different from hypertension or depression. Many people will show some signs of ADHD at some times but not all have a “disorder.” We call ADHD a disorder not only because the patient has many symptoms but also because that patient is impaired, which means that they cannot carry out normal life activities. For example, the ADHD child cannot attend to homework or the ADHD adult cannot hold a job, despite adequate levels of intelligence. Like hypertension, untreated ADHD can lead to serious problems such as failing in school, accidents or an inability to maintain friendships. These problems are so severe that the US Center for Disease Control described ADHD as “a serious public health problem.”

Myth: The ADHD diagnosis was developed to justify the use of drugs to subdue the behaviors of children.
This is one of the more bizarre myths about ADHD. The theory here is that, in order to sell more drugs, pharmaceutical companies invented the diagnosis of ADHD to describe normal children who were causing some problems in the past.
Fact: ADHD was discovered by doctors long before ADHD medications were discovered.
People who believe this myth do not know the history of ADHD. In 1798, long before there were any drugs for ADHD, Alexander Crichton, a Scottish doctor described a “disease of attention,” which we would not call ADHD. ADHD symptoms were described by a German doctor, Heinrich Hoffman, in 1845 and by a British doctor, George Still, in 1902. Each of these doctors found that inattentive and overactive behaviors could lead to a problem that should be of concern to doctors. If they had had medications to treat ADHD they probably would have prescribed them to their patients. But a medication for ADHD was not discovered until 1937 and even then, it was discovered by accident. Dr. Charles Bradley from Providence Rhode Island had been doing brain scanning studies of troubled children in a hospital school. The scans left the children with headaches that Dr. Bradley thought would be relieved by an amphetamine drug. When he gave this drug to the children after the scan, it did not help their headaches. However, the next day, their teachers reported that the children were attending and behaving much better in the classroom. Dr. Bradley had accidentally discovered that amphetamine was very helpful in reducing ADHD symptoms and, in fact, amphetamine drugs are commonly used to treat ADHD today. So, as you can see, the diagnosis of ADHD was not “invented” by anyone; it was discovered by doctors long before drugs for ADHD were known.

Myth: Brain scans or computerized tests of brain function can diagnose ADHD.
Someday, this myth may become fact, but for now and the near future it is a solid myth. You may think this is strange. After all, we know that ADHD is a brain disorder and that neuroimaging studies have documented structural and functional abnormalities in the brains of patients with ADHD. If ADHD is a biological disorder, why don’t we have a biological test for the diagnosis?
Fact: No brain test has been shown to accurately diagnose ADHD.
ADHD is a biologically based disorder, but there are many biological changes and each of these is so small that they are not useful as diagnostic tests. We also think that there are several biological pathways to ADHD. That means that not all ADHD patients will show the same underlying biological problems. So for now, the only officially approved method of diagnosing ADHD is by asking patients and/or their parents about ADHD symptoms as described in the American Psychological Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

http://medicalwritingtraining.com/There are several very effective drugs for ADHD and that treatment guidelines from professional organization view this drugs as the first line of treatment for people with ADHD. The only exception is for preschool children where medication is only the first line treatment for severe ADHD; the guidelines recommend that other preschoolers with ADHD be treated with non-pharmacologic treatments, when available.

Despite these guidelines, some parents and patients have been persuaded by the media or the Internet that ADHD drugs are dangerous and that non-drug alternatives are as good or even better. Parents and patients may also be influenced by media reports that doctors overprescribe ADHD drugs or that these drugs have serious side effects. Such reports typically simplify and/or exaggerate results from the scientific literature. Thus, many patients and parents of ADHD children are seeking non-drug treatments for ADHD.

What are these non-pharmacologic treatments and do they work? My next series of blogs will discuss each of these treatments in detail. Here I’ll give an overview of my evidenced-based taxonomy of nonpharmacologic treatments for ADHD described in more detail in a book I recently edited (Faraone, S. V. & Antshel, K. M. (2014). ADHD: Non-Pharmacologic Interventions. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, xiii-xiv.). I use the term “evidenced-based” in the strict sense applied by the Oxford Center for Evidenced Based Medicine (OCEBM; http://www.cebm.net/).

Most of the non-drug treatments for ADHD fall into three categories: behavioral, dietary and neurocognitive. Behavioral interventions include training parents to optimize methods of reward and punishment for their ADHD child, teaching ADHD children social skills and helping teachers apply principles of behavior management in their classrooms. Cognitive behavior therapy is a method that teaches behavioral and cognitive skills to adolescent and adult ADHD patients. Dietary interventions include special diets that exclude food colorings or eliminate foods believed to cause ADHD symptoms. Other dietary interventions provide supplements such as iron, zinc or omega-3 fatty acids. The neurocognitive interventions typically use a computer based learning setup to teach ADHD patients cognitive skills that will help reduce ADHD symptoms.

There are two metrics to consider when thinking about the evidence-base for these methods. The first is the quality of the evidence. For example, a study of 10 patients with no control group would be a low quality study but a study of 100 patients randomized to either a treatment or control group would be of high quality and the quality would be even higher if the people rating patient outcomes did not know who was in each group.

The second metric is the magnitude of the treatment effect. Does the treatment dramatically reduce ADHD symptoms or does it have only a small effect? This metric is only available for high quality studies that compare people treated with the method and people treated with a ‘control’ method that is not expected to affect ADHD.

I used a statistical metric to quantify the magnitude of effect. Zero means no effect and larger numbers indicate better effects on treating ADHD symptoms. For comparison, the effect of stimulant drugs for ADHD is about 0.9, which is derived from a very strong evidence base. The effects of dietary treatments are smaller, about 0.4 to 0.5, but because the quality of the evidence is not strong, these results are not certain and the studies of food color exclusions apply primarily to children who have high intakes of such colorants.

In contrast to the dietary studies, the evidence base for behavioral treatments is excellent but the effects of these treatments of ADHD symptoms is very small, less than 0.1. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids also has a strong evidence base but the magnitude of effect is also small (0.1 to 0.2). The neurocognitive treatments have modest effects on ADHD symptoms (0.2 to 0.4) but their evidence base is weak.

This review of non-drug treatments explains why ADHD drug treatments are usually used first. Their evidence base is stronger and they are more effective in reducing ADHD symptoms. There is, however, a role for some non-drug treatments. I’ll be discussing that in subsequent blog posts.

See more evidenced based information about ADHD at www.adhdinadults.com
 

References :
Faraone, S. V. & Antshel, K. M. (2014). ADHD: Non-Pharmacologic Interventions. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, xiii-xiv.
Faraone, S. V. & Antshel, K. M. (2014). Towards an evidence-based taxonomy of nonpharmacologic treatments for ADHD. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, 965-72.

Stephen_Faraone_PhD_AIA_2016_XM7MQd.png.jpgMyth: ADHD is caused by poor parenting or teaching.
Parents and teachers are popular targets for those who misunderstand ADHD. This myth posits that ADHD would not exist if parents and teachers were more effective at disciplining and teaching children. From this perspective, ADHD is a failure of society, not a brain disease.
Fact: ADHD occurs when genes and toxic environments harm the brain.
Blaming parents and teachers for ADHD is wrong. We know from research studies that many parents of ADHD children have normal parenting skills and even when we train parents to be better parents, ADHD does not disappear. In fact, many parents of ADHD children have a non-ADHD child that they raised with the same discipline methods. If bad parenting causes ADHD, all of the children in the family should have ADHD. Equally important, decades of research studies have shown that genes and toxic environments cause ADHD by harming the brain. I’m not saying that all parents and teachers are perfect. In fact, by teaching parents and teachers special methods for dealing with ADHD can help children with ADHD.

Myth: Watching Television causes ADHD.
This myth hit the media in 2004 when a research group published a paper suggesting that toddlers who watched too much TV were at risk for attentional problems later in life.
Fact: The study was wrong.
Sometimes researchers get it wrong. But fortunately science is self-correcting; if an incorrect result is published, subsequent studies will show that it is wrong. That’s what happened with the ADHD television study. After the first study made such a media splash, several other researchers did similar studies. They found out that the original study had errors and that watching too much TV does not cause ADHD. But, because the popular media did not pick up the later studies, the myth persists. I’m not recommending that toddlers watch a lot of television, but rest assured that, if they do, it will not cause ADHD.

Myth: Too much sugar causes ADHD.
This idea is based on common sense. Many parents know that when their children and their friends have too much sugary food, they can get very active and out of control.
Fact: Sometimes, common sense is wrong.
As a parent, I thought there was some truth to the sugar myth. But when a colleague, Dr. Wolraich, reviewed the world literature on the topic, he found that there have been many studies of the effect of sugar on children. These studies show that sugar does not affect either the behavior or the thinking patterns of children. Having too much sugar is bad for other reasons, but it does not cause ADHD.
 

REFERENCES
Wolraich, M. L., Wilson, D. B. & White, J. W. (1995). The effect of sugar on behavior or cognition in children. A meta-analysis. JAMA 274, 1617-21.

Stevens, T. & Mulsow, M. (2006). There is no meaningful relationship between television exposure and symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics 117, 665-72.
Evans, S. W., Langberg, J. M., Egan, T. & Molitor, S. J. (2014). Middle School-based and High School-based Interventions for Adolescents with ADHD. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, 699-715.

Pfiffner, L. J. & Haack, L. M. (2014). Behavior Management for School-Aged Children with ADHD. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 23, 731-746.

http://medicalwritingtraining.com/In contrast to a large literature demonstrating the effects of medications for adult ADHD, a small but growing literature is beginning to document the value of naturopathic treatments. A good example was recently published by Rucklidge et al. (2014, British Journal of Psychiatry, Epub). These investigators evaluated the efficacy and safety of a micronutrient formula comprised of vitamins and minerals, without omega fatty acids. It is the first double-blind randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of micronutrients (N = 42) compared with placebo (N = 38) on ADHD symptoms. It found that, compared with placebo, the micronutrient formula led to greater improvements in ADHD symptoms for self-ratings and observer-ratings but not for clinician ratings. The effect size of the clinical response ranged from 0.46 to 0.67, which is less than what is typically seen for ADHD medications (Faraone & S. J. Glatt (2010) J Clin Psychiatry 71 754-763). Only 48% of patients in the micronutrient group were rated as improved or very much improved. Although this was greater than the 21% rate in the placebo group, it is about half the response rate seen with stimulant medications. Importantly, the micronutrient and placebo groups did not differ in rates of adverse events. They authors wisely concluded that their results, albeit intriguing, provide only preliminary evidence for the value of micronutrients in treating adult ADHD. This work, and related studies of children and adolescents, will likely motivate more research into micronutrient treatments. Such treatments are especially appealing to patients due to their low side effect burden but given the small evidence based, they should be used with caution if their use will delay the use of treatments whose efficacy has been established. Of note, Rucklidge et al. reported treatment effects after eight weeks. Thus, if patients insist on monotherapy with micronutrients, they should not delay other treatments for longer than eight weeks without evidence that the micronutrients are working.