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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Physical Treatment for ADD

10/03/2003

Question:

Is there any information on using exercise/environment to treat a child with ADD.

Answer:

Very little is known about this important question. One study in a British medical journal recently found significant improvements after specific exercises in children with ADHD, compared to children without ADHD. These were in many areas including naming fluency, semantic fluency, and reading fluency. The authors of that study also describe substantial improvements (compared with those in the previous year) on national standardized tests of reading, writing and comprehension. But one study does not make it so. My gut feeling, after seeing well over 1,000 people at The Affinity Center for more than six years, is that frequent exercise (at least mildly strenuous) is one of the few things that does decrease ADD symptoms, outside of medication. But that is only an opinion. More research needs to be done on this. 

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Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati