Durham Research
Using Fatty Acids for Learning Conditions


Running the Trial

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 participating.'

Chris Ridley, an LEA employee who did many of the assessments.