An Alternative History of Hyperactivity: Food Additives and the Feingold Diet

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Rutgers University Press, 2011 M07 1 - 262 páginas
In 1973, San Francisco allergist Ben Feingold created an uproar by claiming that synthetic food additives triggered hyperactivity, then the most commonly diagnosed childhood disorder in the United States. He contended that the epidemic should not be treated with drugs such as Ritalin but, instead, with a food additive-free diet. Parents and the media considered his treatment, the Feingold diet, a compelling alternative. Physicians, however, were skeptical and designed dozens of trials to challenge the idea. The resulting medical opinion was that the diet did not work and it was rejected.

Matthew Smith asserts that those scientific conclusions were, in fact, flawed. An Alternative History of Hyperactivity explores the origins of the Feingold diet, revealing why it became so popular, and the ways in which physicians, parents, and the public made decisions about whether it was a valid treatment for hyperactivity. Arguing that the fate of Feingold's therapy depended more on cultural, economic, and political factors than on the scientific protocols designed to test it, Smith suggests the lessons learned can help resolve medical controversies more effectively.
 

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Contenido

Food for Thought
1
Why Your Child Is Hyperactive
15
Feingold Goes Public
36
The Problem with Hyperactivity
51
Food Just Isnt What It Used to Be
68
The Feingold Diet in the Media
87
Testing the Feingold Diet
111
Feingold Families
131
Conclusion
153
Bibliography
169
Notes
195
Index
235
About the Author
244
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Acerca del autor (2011)

MATTHEW SMITH is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, UK. He received the American Association for the History of Medicine's Pressman-Burroughs Wellcome Award in 2010.

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