Sunday, January 07, 2007

NHS prescribing drugs ‘when diet might help children with autism’

Sunday Herald

By Judith Duffy, Health Correspondent

THE NHS is failing to provide advice on nutrition which could help children with conditions such as autism and attention deficit disorder, amid a culture of prescribing powerful drugs with potential side-effects.
That is the claim made by Dave Rex, lead child health dietician with NHS Highland, who has warned that despite evidence that special diets can help some individuals, nutrition is still being treated as a "Cinderella" subject in the health service.
Speaking ahead of a major conference on diet and children's behaviour later this month, Rex told the Sunday Herald that while many NHS professionals will prescribe powerful drugs, they are reluctant to consider dietary interventions.
"It is very strange that we within the NHS are in the culture of prescribing medication which runs the risk of side-effects," he said, "yet we are so nervous about giving tailor-made advice on what a healthy diet would look like.
"As soon as you talk about diet and autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), people assume you are going to be suggesting something wacky, because some people have done so in the past.
"But you can give responsible, tailor-made advice on diet, which is more likely to do good than harm."


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