Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
Causes and Possible Solutions

ADHD: Causes and Possible Solutions was the title of the conference held on November 4-7, 1999 at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Virginia. Program participants presented a balanced view of conventional and non-conventional approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and related developmental disorders of the central nervous system.

The role of genetic, nutritional, food allergy and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of these disorders were discussed by nationally and internationally known authorities. Audience participation was an integral part of the program.

The conference was sponsored by the Georgetown University Medical Center, Office of Continuing Professional Education, Washington, DC, and co-sponsored by the International Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Immunology (Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC) and the International Health Foundation (Jackson, Tennessee).

Following brief introductory remarks by Joseph A. Bellanti and Dr. William G. Crook, a videotape by Tipper Gore was presented to the conference participants. Here's an excerpt of her remarks: <

"This conference is important because it brings together health care providers, researchers, educators and parents...Out of these discussions will come a set of recommendations important in the total management of ADHD. All of this information is important because parents need to be able to make treatment choices for their children based on the most current information."

Click Here for Dr. Crook's presentation at the ADHD conference.

Many Pediatricians Support the Increasing Use of Ritalin and Ignore the Diet/Behavior Connection

A cover story article, "Medical experts defend against Ritalin charges," in the May 1996 issue of AAP News (the official newspaper of the American Academy of Pediatrics) reported on the concerns of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) about the rapid increase in prescriptions for Ritalin in the United States*

According to this article the INCB is the latest group to charge that ADHD is overdiagnosed and methylphenidate (Ritalin) is overprescribed. And Ambassador Herbert Okun (US representative to INCB) said, "…there is 10 times as much usage in the U.S. as in the rest of the world."

In replying to these charges the article cited the comments of three "medical experts" who supported the increasing use of Ritalin in the U.S. as compared to other countries.  One of these experts, Mel Levine, M.D., F.A.A.P., said that INCB "…should be even more worried that other countries are not prescribing more—that they're not taking advantage of this treatment and are writing off children who are not succeeding in life."

The article also cited a study published in the November 1995 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Obtaining responses from 380 pediatricians in a random sample, researchers reported that pediatricians noted a number of ‘common but inaccurate beliefs." Included among these was a statement that parents' observations that poor diet causes ADHD was a "misperception."

*AAP News, Vol. 12 No. 5. Used with permission.

An Urgent Plea to Leaders of the American Academy of Pediatrics

The AAP News article, "Medical experts defend against Ritalin charges," prompted me to respond and my comments were published in the "Second Opinion" section of the July 1996 issue of AAP News under the heading "ADHD dietary factors overlooked." Here are excerpts:

  • "The incidence of ADHD has increased sharply during the last 40 years. Based on my own experience in practice, I'm certain that this is an actual increase and not due to increased recognition.
  • "Food sensitivities and other dietary factors are clearly related to ADHD, and parents" observations about diet as a cause of ADHD are not a 'misperception.'
'Based on my own experience and scientific reports in the medical literature, I am unable to accept the recommendations of those who appear to suggest that millions of American children are suffering from what might be termed 'a Ritalin deficiency.'

'The causes of ADHD and related disorders are multiple and complex. Some are understood and some are not. I do not claim to possess all the answers. Yet, I feel programs for these children should not rely on Ritalin, psychological and educational therapy.'

"I urge the AAP Committee on Children with Disabilities and other appropriate AAP committees to host a 'workshop/think tank' on ADHD, its causes and management. Participants should include pediatricians and other professionals and non-professionals with different experiences and persuasions. The lives of countless children and their families are at stake."

William G. Crook, M.D., FAAP
Jackson, TN

Summary and Recommendations

Millions of American children are troubled by attention deficit and hyperactivity and their number is increasing each year.

Ritalin and related medications help control the symptoms in some 70% of these children but often do not provide long term benefits.

Children whose treatment program includes only medication, educational and psychological therapy continue to be at high risk for vandalism, petty crime, frequency of alcoholic intoxication and possession of marijuana.

Repeated antibiotics for ear (and other infections) in infants and young children play a major role in causing nervous system disorders in many children. Here is a chart which summarizes the antibiotic/yeast/food allergy/toxin/ADHD relationship.

Further scientific studies and clinical observations are urgently needed. The time to begin is NOW!

The International Health Foundation (IHF) is urging the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U. S. Department of Health and Human services to fund studies designed to break the cycle of recurrent ear infections in young infants and help children with ADHD. Based on information obtained by IHF, these studies should include:
  1. A sugar-free special diet.
  2. Oral antifungal medications.
  3. Probiotics.
Such a treatment program would:
  1. Control the multiplication of Candida albicans in the gut.
  2. Restore the friendly bacteria.
  3. Lessen the production of toxins.
  4. Lessen the absorption of toxins and food allergens.
  5. Provide information that could help countless children.

Has your child experienced problems sitting still and/or paying attention in school?

Has he/she been diagnosed as ADD or ADHD?

Has he/she been troubled by any of these symptoms:

  • recurrent ear problems
  • headaches, stomach aches or leg aches
  • fatigue
  • sensitivities to common foods>
Have you or your physician considered giving him Ritalin and/or other psychotherapeutic drugs?

If your answer is 'yes' to many of these questions, you'll be interested in the recently revised and updated printing of my 32-page booklet, Dr. Crook Discusses Alternatives to RITALIN in the Management of ADHD.

To obtain this booklet, send $5 to Professional Books, Attention: Brenda, P.O. Box 3246RB, Jackson, TN 38303.(Send a mailing label or self-addressed envelope.)The booklet will be mailed to you promptly. If you're not pleased with the booklet, your money will be returned.

Copyright 2003 - Site Restored in Memory of Dr. Crook by Group of Naturopaths