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Essential fatty acid metabolism in boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Stevens L.J., Zentall S.S., Deck J.L., Abate M.L., Watkins B.A., Lipp S.R., and Burgess J.R Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62:761-8

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the term used to describe children who are inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive. The cause is unknown and is thought to be multifactorial. Based on the work of others, we hypothesized that some children with ADHD have altered fatty acid metabolism. The present study found that 53 subjects with ADHD has significantly lower concentrations of key fatty acids in the plasma polar lipids (20:4n-6, 20:5n-3, and 22:6n-3) and in red blood cell total lipids (20:4n-6 and 22:4n-6) than did the 43 control subjects. Also, a subgroup of 21 subjects with ADHD exhibiting many symptoms of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency symptoms. The data are discussed with respect to cause , but the precise reason for lower fatty acid concentrations in some children with ADHD is not clear.