A Research Report
is a summary of an unpublished 1973 research paper. The research was carried
out by Dr B Roy-Feiler and Th. Starzinski in the Psychiatric Clinic of the Johannes Gutenberg University
in Mainz, Germany.
The starting point of the study was the assumption that the behavioural and developmental deficits of children affected by hyperactive behaviour might be triggered by too high an intake of phosphate. The study involved twelve boys and three girls, aged between four and sixteen years. In their home environments these children had been given Hafer's minimal phosphate diet for a period of at least six weeks - in some cases for up to two years - to remove excess phosphate from their system. During this period they all improved markedly. Improvements were noted by the researchers, family members, teachers and the children themselves: the evidence was in the form of improved school marks and reports.
The children were then given a series of clinical, blood and psychological tests, to determine whether there were any indications of problems arising from the low phosphate diet. No problems were discovered. Blood and EEG examinations revealed no adverse effects of the phosphate-reduced diet among this group of subjects, even in the case of those subjects who had been on the diet for one to two years.
Next, half of the group was given a controlled dose of phosphate and the other half was given a placebo. Two observers endeavoured, independently of one another, by observing the behaviour of the children, to judge which subjects had received the phosphate and which the placebo. Symptoms of hyperactivity became very quickly and very obviously apparent in those children who had taken the phosphate. First symptoms were identifiable within half an hour of the ingestion of phosphate. According to the researchers, it was highly unlikely that the results they observed were brought about by a placebo or psychotherapeutic effect, since their subjects had been on the same diet in the home situation for as long as two years. In addition, there was considerable evidence of improvement in the form of school reports.
The researchers pointed out that no minimum age for the introduction of the low-phosphate diet appears to be indicated, especially as the behaviour manifestations of hyperactivity had already become apparent in some cases when infants were taken off baby food and put onto a normal diet. They commented that since the diet would need to be continued for years, at least until the onset of puberty, regular checks of all aspects which it might affect would be advisable.
Hafer's son, Michael, was one of the children involved in this study and who had been given a dose of phosphate. He had been doing well on the low-phosphate diet and, like the other fourteen children involved, before the administration of the phosphate dose, seemed to fit in well with the things around him. Hafer comments: "Our son returned home after the test with an uncontrollable logorrhea (an excessive flow of speech). The next morning he was so disturbed that in two classes at school he had received three hours of detention and been the subject of several entries in the class discipline book. Then, in despair, he ran away from school."
Excerpts of Roy-Feiler's research is quoted in The Hidden Drug - Dietary Phosphate
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