Running the Trial
Ensuring compliance in taking the capsules was crucial. We
decided that the best way was to have the capsules administered to
the children by the school-based staff. Every school day, the pupils
would go to see the appointed staff member before classes started,
at lunchtime and before they went home.
On each visit, they were
given 2 x 500-mg capsules, of either fatty acids or placebo. The
structure ensured compliance of six capsules a day during the week.
Then, we enrolled the assistance of parents to ensure that the
capsules were taken during the weekend. At the end of each
assessment period, parents and the school staff would hand in any
pots of capsules, so compliance could be monitored.
This plan was rigid and time-consuming plan, but the outcome was
an extraordinary high compliance and low drop-out. The energy and
commitment of the pupils, parents and staff resulted in a high level
of participation, which was a major success of the trial.
'It was a demanding task. As a full assessment took
nearly two hours, it was rare to be able to check on more than five
children a day. One of the youngsters may have been off sick, making
a return visit obligatory. And all of this had to be balanced within
the curriculum of the 12 different schools
Chris Ridley, an LEA
employee who did many of the assessments.