Editorials

Giving antioxidants to infants with Down’s syndrome

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39475.655058.80 (Published 13 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:568

Does not improve psychomotor development

In their accompanying randomised controlled trial, Ellis and colleagues assess whether supplementation with antioxidants or folinic acid (or both) improves the psychomotor and language development of children under 7 months old who have Down’s syndrome. The trial compared daily oral supplementation with antioxidants (selenium 10 μg, zinc 5 mg, vitamin A 0.9 mg, vitamin E 100 mg, and vitamin C 50 mg), folinic acid (0.1 mg), antioxidants and folinic acid combined, or placebo and found no significant difference in outcomes at 18 months.1

Antioxidants, vitamins, and miscellaneous food supplements are often believed to cure all manner of ills. In many cases, however, belief in food supplements flies in the face of the evidence.2 Vitamins have been tested as a preventive measure for cardiovascular disease, but the heart protection study (vitamin E, vitamin C, ß …

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