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Food Additives Associated with Hyperactivity in Children

Food Additives Associated with Hyperactivity in Children
Common food additives may cause hyperactivity in children in the general population, according to a study published online in Lancet.

In a randomized crossover trial, 137 three-year-olds and 130 eight- or nine-year-olds consumed daily drinks of placebo, mix A (sodium benzoate and artificial food coloring), or mix B (similar to mix A, but with additional food coloring) for 6 weeks. Hyperactivity was evaluated using teacher and parent ratings, direct observation, and a computerized test.

Compared with placebo in adjusted analyses, mix A was associated with elevated hyperactivity scores among three-year-olds, while mix B was associated with elevated scores among eight- or nine-year-olds.

The authors write, “These findings show that adverse effects are not just seen in children with extreme hyperactivity (ie, ADHD), but can also be seen in the general population and across the range of severities of hyperactivity.”

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