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Objectives: This double-blind pilot randomized placebo-controlled trial examined the possible effect of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC53103 (LGG) on symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), health-related quality of life (QoL), and serum levels of cytokines in children and adolescents with ADHD. Methods: This trial evaluated 32 drug-naive children and adolescents aged between four and 17 years with a diagnosis of ADHD. The study subjects were randomly assigned to either the group that received LGG or the group that received the placebo. Assessments, comprising the ADHD Parent-Report Rating Scale-IV: Home Version; the Child Self-Report and Parent Proxy-Report of the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory TM (PedsQL TM ) 4.0 Generic Core Scale; the Parent Form (CBCL/6-18) and the Teacher Report Form (TRF) of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) for ages 6-18 of the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA); and the serum cytokines; were compared between the groups at the baseline and after 3 months. Results: Thirty-five participants were randomized, with 32 completing the study (91.4% retention). There was a significant improvement in the PedsQL Child Self-Report Total Score after 3 months of treatment in the probiotic (p = 0.021, d = 0.53), whereas there was no significant improvement in the placebo group (p = 0.563, d = 0.04). The results of psychometric parameters assessed by parents and teachers were not so straightforward. There were statistically significant differences in the levels of serum cytokines between the groups after the 3-month treatment period: IL-6 in both the probiotic (p = 0.004, d = 0.73) and the placebo groups (p = 0.035, d = 0.94); IL-10 (p = 0.035, d = 0.6); IL-12 p70 (p = 0.025, d = 0.89); and TNF-α (p = 0.046, d = 0.64) in the probiotic group only. Conclusions: Children and adolescents with ADHD who received LGG supplementation reported better health-related QoL compared to their peers who received the placebo. This suggests that LGG supplementation could be beneficial. But results with psychometric tests conducted by parents and teachers as well as differences in the levels of inflammatory cytokines were ambiguous. Based on these results, we propose some study modifications: a longer observation period (6-12 months); inclusion of more children's self-report assessments; recruitment of non-drug naive patients and the possible omission of serum cytokines measurements. Clinical Trial Registration: Medical Ethics Committee (UKC-MB-KME-19-06/16).

Keywords: ADHD; LGG; Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG; adolescents; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; children; health-related quality of life; probiotics.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lr-32Improved Quality of LifeBeneficial

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