Durham Research
Using Fatty Acids for Learning Conditions


Running the Trial


Feedback from those who were directly involved in the study can provide an informal yet valuable perspective on whether nutritional treatment might be able to help children who may be disadvantaged by learning conditions to perform better in the classroom.

Comments from parents

Alison Kitching
'Kayleigh has always been a very active child, the only thing that she lacked was concentration. Since she has taken the supplements I have seen a change in her. She is more determined.'

Wendy Moffett
'I was really pleased when it said on Thomas' report that the biggest improvement in Thomas' literacy skills was his reading. I am sure that this can be attributed to the Fatty Acid Trials.'

Sheila Best
'Absolutely amazing. After Elliot started taking the tablets, the first two or three months. he was more interested in work. He would go to the library. Not so much interested in the TV.'

Elaine Jennings:
'I felt that Joseph benefited greatly from the trials with an increase in concentration.'

Christine Hodgson:
'Mark has turned into a more confident child when mixing with other children and adults. His writing has improved and he enjoys asking questions, or reading to improve his knowledge. I will always give Mark the supplements as I believe they have made a huge difference in his life.'

Comments from teachers

Andrew Westerman, Head Teacher
'We're pleased to say that it does seem to be having quite a significant effect on a number of children ... we're finding that the handwriting is more regular, it's kept on the line, the letters are evenly spaced and formed, and you can imagine it's flowing much more easily for them. Also, the reading scores are going up quite significantly. The average increase is between two and three years in three months. In one case we have seen an increase of four years. This is simply stunning,'

"We have seem improvements in attentiveness, ability to take part in lessons, self-esteem and so on. I can't believe how involved they are in lessons. '

Comments from pupils

Kayleigh Garnett
'Before, when I didn't take these tablets, I was talking and I couldn't concentrate properly. But now that I've been taking them, when I go home to do homework, I'm taking more care and concentrating and everything.'

Daniel Taylor
' It's really fun because its just to help you with your maths and english and just to give you help to speed up on it.'

Elliot Best
'Now I am not so interested in the TV. I just like reading books. The best place in all the world is the library. I absolutely love it.'

Joe - a case study

His parents described him as a 'difficult child from birth'. He had been born two weeks prematurely and was small for dates. He screamed constantly and following referral to a paediatrician was admitted to hospital at 9 months for investigation into his poor weight gain. He was allergic to milk products and had red patches of dry, flaky skin at the back of his knees. Unlike his older brother he avoided constructional toys - he hated jigsaws and Lego - and he was 20 months before walking independently. He slept only a few hours each day until he was 4 years old. His sleeping patterns continued to be erratic even after starting school. His diet was limited: he ate large quantities of dry bread, smoked sausage and bananas - the only fruit he would tolerate.

At 8 Joe was still unable to dress himself, had problems coordinating a knife and fork, could not ride a bike and his parents said €œIf there is anything at all he can bump into or trip over he'll find it€�. Despite his difficulties, Joe was popular in his peer group and children in the class were very supportive. In the infants, Joe presented as a happy child but by the age of 8 he was becoming frustrated by his problems. He was very irritable and had frequent mood swings. He was described as 'hysterical with excitement' one minute and 'tearful and withdrawn' the next.

Neuropsychological assessment highlighted discrepancies between his verbal and non-verbal ability. His reading was measured at a level 18 months above his chronological age, his comprehension skills were also very good. Verbally he was very imaginative but he struggled to put anything on paper. In the classroom he was becoming increasingly distractible, not concentrating sufficiently to finish the tasks set. As part of the assessment, he was given a piece of writing to copy (See Fig 1)

Figure 1. Extract copied from 'The Twits' by Roald Dahl

Joe had accessed school-based programmes to improve his motor skills and perception. Progress was slow and during a review mum said that she had noticed him drinking more and having very sweaty palms and feet. His eczema was particularly bad at the time. The G.P. had seen him and blood tests had revealed nothing unusual. Joe started on a course of EFA supplements and within a week his parents believed he had become less excitable and by the end of a month his class teacher reported significant improvements not just in his attention to task but also in the presentation of his work. On occasion, particularly when feeling stressed Joe had developed a slight tremor in his hand when writing. This had completely disappeared. More importantly, Joe said 'My head feels clear' and he had noticed changes in his handwriting. A month after Joe began his 'treatment' he was asked to rewrite the piece previously copied from Roald Dahl's book. The results were remarkable (See Fig. 2)

Figure 2

Joe continues to make good progress. In school the staff believe that the most obvious effect is a difference in his concentration. The quantity of written work he is able to produce has increased and the content of his stories , which are now legible reflect his ability. His parents report that he is now keen to come to school and he no longer claims to have headaches and stomach pains towards the end of school holidays.