Testimony to the White House Commission on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Policy.
Judy Schneider, member, Board of Trustees of the Feingold Association
New York City, NY
January 23, 2001
I am here tonight wearing two hats. One is a member of the Executive Board of the Feingold Association of the United States, the oldest support group in the country for children with attention, behavior and learning problems. The second hat is that of an M.O.M.
When my daughter Kori was two and a half, she was on her way into autism. I kept saying, "There's a wall there. I can't get through the wall!" She was having psycho-motor seizures where she would wake up in the middle of the night with her legs and arms flailing. She also showed signs of developmental delay. The doctors recommended medicating her. It was at that time, 1978, my mom read an article about a new program, The Feingold Diet, that used dietary management to help these children. After 3 days on the program I had a new child. The seizures went away, she was sleeping through the night for the first time since she was born, and she began to grow both physically and mentally. By the time she was in third grade she was in the gifted program and is currently a New York University graduate. By simply changing the brands of food in my daughter's diet she has become a productive member of society. In fact, she recently starred in an off-Broadway production where she played Miranda in The Tempest.
I request the Commission consider the following:
I would like to end my comments by sharing a true anecdote. When my daughter was about to enter high school, we had a discussion about drug use. She simply said, "MA, I don't do artifiical flavors and colors - why would I do drugs?" Judy Schneider
- Parents need to be given, by their medical professionals, all the options for the treatment of attention, behavior and learning problems. One of these strategies needs to be dietary management which has been used successfully by the Feingold Associaiton for 25 years.
- The Feingold Program which costs $77 for the first year and $48 for renewal of materials, needs to become a reimbursable medical expense.
- Additional research needs to be funded. One area which needs to be studied is the role enzymes play as part of this disorder. An interesting study was done in 1994 at Birmingham University, UK, by Dr. Rosemary Waring. It showed an enzyme, phenol sulfotransferase (PST) which rids the body of phenolic compounds, was found in an extremely low level in her Autistic/ADHD population. Since most artificial flavors, colors and certain preservatives are phenolic based, without this enzyme present these foods may need to be removed from the diet. If this enzyme is the culprit a simple test needs to be standardized similar to the PKU test to determine the level of this enzyme especially in children.
- Doctors who select dietary management as the appropriate method of treatment for their patients need to be protected from prosecution. I would like to bring to the Commission's attention the fact that Dr. Robert Sinaiko has been put on probation without the right to practice medicine by the Medical Board of California for prescribing dietary management for an ADHD patient after medication had been unsuccessful. According to the California Board, "ADHD is a psychiatric disorder whose only treatment is pharmacologial." I heartily request that this situation and that of other doctors in the same category needs to be reviewed.
- We need to understand the role of the pharmaceutical lobby in decisions being made by both medical professionals and medical boards in excluding dietary management as a treatment option. Dr. Sinaiko was about to standardize a test to predict which children would benefit from dietary management, just prior to his enditement.