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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for children with specific learning disorders

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2016
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Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for children with specific learning disorders
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009398.pub3
Pubmed ID

May Loong Tan, Jacqueline J Ho, Keng Hwang Teh


About 5% of school children have a specific learning disorder, defined as unexpected failure to acquire adequate abilities in reading, writing or mathematics that is not a result of reduced intellectual ability, inadequate teaching or social deprivation. Of these events, 80% are reading disorders. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), in particular, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which normally are abundant in the brain and in the retina, are important for learning. Some children with specific learning disorders have been found to be deficient in these PUFAs, and it is argued that supplementation of PUFAs may help these children improve their learning abilities. 1. To assess effects on learning outcomes of supplementation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for children with specific learning disorders.2. To determine whether adverse effects of supplementation of PUFAs are reported in these children. In November 2015, we searched CENTRAL, Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, 10 other databases and two trials registers. We also searched the reference lists of relevant articles. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs comparing PUFAs with placebo or no treatment in children younger than 18 years with specific learning disabilities, as diagnosed in accordance with the fifth (or earlier) edition of theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), or the 10th (or earlier) revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) or equivalent criteria. We included children with coexisting developmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism. Two review authors (MLT and KHT) independently screened the titles and abstracts of articles identified by the search and eliminated all studies that did not meet the inclusion criteria. We contacted study authors to ask for missing information and clarification, when needed. We used the GRADE approach to assess the quality of evidence. Two small studies involving 116 children, mainly boys between 10 and 18 years of age, met the inclusion criteria. One study was conducted in a school setting, the other at a specialised clinic. Both studies used three months of a combination of omega-3 and omega-6 supplements as the intervention compared with placebo. Although both studies had generally low risk of bias, we judged the risk of reporting bias as unclear in one study, and as high in the other study. In addition, one of the studies was funded by industry and reported active company involvement in the study.None of the studies reported data on the primary outcomes of reading, writing, spelling and mathematics scores, as assessed by standardised tests.Evidence of low quality indicates that supplementation of PUFAs did not increase the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances (risk ratio 1.43, 95% confidence interval 0.25 to 8.15; two studies, 116 children). Investigators reported no other adverse effects.Both studies reported attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-related behaviour outcomes. We were unable to combine the results in a meta-analysis because one study reported findings as a continuous outcome, and the other as a dichotomous outcome. No other secondary outcomes were reported.We excluded one study because it used a cointervention (carnosine), and five other studies because they did not provide a robust diagnosis of a specific learning disorder. We identified one ongoing study and found three studies awaiting classification. Evidence is insufficient to permit any conclusions about the effect of PUFAs on the learning abilities of children with specific learning disorders. Well-designed RCTs with clearly defined populations of children with specific learning disorders who have been diagnosed by standardised diagnostic criteria are needed.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 7 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 329 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 1 <1%
Netherlands 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Unknown 326 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 40 12%
Student > Bachelor 40 12%
Researcher 29 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 25 8%
Student > Postgraduate 17 5%
Other 68 21%
Unknown 110 33%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 78 24%
Nursing and Health Professions 34 10%
Psychology 24 7%
Social Sciences 11 3%
Neuroscience 10 3%
Other 46 14%
Unknown 126 38%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 4. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 26 April 2022.
All research outputs
of 25,806,763 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 13,140 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 331,714 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 278 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,806,763 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 69th percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 13,140 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 35.9. This one is in the 30th percentile – i.e., 30% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 331,714 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 66% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 278 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 31st percentile – i.e., 31% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.