Children may soon be able to take a simple breath test to see if they have dyslexia. The breath test, developed by Dr. Alexandra Richardson of the University of Oxford, works by measuring biochemical imbalances in the body that are thought to underlie some behavioral and learning difficulties.

The development of the test follows research showing that some people with conditions such as dyslexia and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder can be treated with a simple nutritional supplement. Richardson says, ?Certain key fatty acids found in fish oil and evening primrose are crucial in shaping brain development and function, but they have been disappearing from many modern diets. These fatty acids matter to everyone, but they seem particularly crucial for individuals predisposed to these kinds of specific learning difficulties.? A recent article in the Sunday New York Times magazine revealed that modern, corn-fed beef contains unhealthy saturated fat, while cows that were fed by grazing in the past had fatty acids that were as nutritional as fish oil.

The researchers plan to study 120 dyslexic English children who will be given either a fatty acid supplement or a placebo for a period of six months. The breath test will be taken by each child both before and after treatment, and standard measures of attention, visual perception and motor control will be recorded. The children who are given the supplements are likely to improve.

?For too long now many children and adults with dyslexia and dyspraxia have been misunderstood, and their talents and academic potential have gone unrecognized. Early identification is crucial, and the exciting thing about this new biochemical test is that it’s simple and non-invasive, so that it’s suitable even for young children – in fact they find it fun,? says Richardson. ?We’re hoping that this test will identify those individuals who may be helped by nutritional supplements.?

To learn why so many children may be suffering from ADD and HDD and what to do about it, read ?The Indigo Children? and ?An Indigo Celebration? by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober,click here.

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