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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 May, 2005, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Oil pills boost pupil brain power
Children in fish oil test
Some of the school children taking part in the trials
Children who were under performing in class have seen an improvement in concentration and behaviour after taking a cocktail of natural oils.

More than 120 children aged between six and 12 took part in trials, funded by Durham County Council.

Half used a combination of omega-3 fish oil and omega-6 evening primrose oil and half an olive oil placebo.

The research showed children's learning and behaviour improved significantly when taking the natural fatty acids.

The children were tested at the outset and again after three months for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms, co-ordination and short term memory.

Sources of omega-3 oils
herring
kippers
mackerel
pilchards
sardines
salmon
fresh tuna
trout
anchovies

Results suggested that after three months, the group using the fatty acid made "highly significant improvements" in 12 out of 13 behavioural scales, including three diagnostic ADHD features - inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Short term memory also significantly improved.

One head teacher said children with specific difficulties now concentrate more, read better, and their self-esteem has rocketed.

Dr Madeleine Portwood, an education psychologist from Durham Education Authority, said: "As a psychologist working in schools in Durham I became increasingly aware of the number of children under achieving because they are hyperactive and cannot concentrate.

"In the late 1990s there was lots of research available suggesting fatty acids would make a difference. So I put it to a number of heads and they said we'll give it a go.

"For six months the children were taking supplements during the school day and we measured improvements.

"The most dramatic improvement was in concentration and the spin off was children had better attainments so their reading score improved - some children improved by as much as four years in the six months trial."




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Both researchers and pupils have noticed results



SEE ALSO:
Fish oil study needs volunteers
29 Mar 04 |  Berkshire


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