Over the past few years a great deal of medical and dietary research has been carried out to find cures for hyperactive children. It has been suggested that some synthetic food colourings, such as tartrazine and preservatives such as benzoic acid are to blame.

However, there is still some debate as to the effects of these additives and the number of children that are affected.

Nevertheless, some studies have found that children with behavioural and learning difficulties can show marked improvement once additives, which are present in orange squash, chocolate, bacon, ham, salami and other processed foods are eliminated from their diets. Too much caffeine, found in coffee, tea, dark chocolate and some cola drinks, has also been blamed as a cause of hyperactivity.

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It is claimed that 1 in every 10 children shows some degree of hyperactivity, win 1 in 200 having severe problems. In these cases family life can be seriously disrupted. Hyperactive children are compulsive fidgets and suffer from poor concentration never settling to a task. Their behaviour is unpredictable, so that they can suddenly become aggressive or tearful.

Although hyperactive children are usually of average or above average intelligence, they often have learning difficulties, partly because of the problems they have concentrating. Some children find it difficult to sleep.