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Health Agencies Update
November 15, 2000

Lifelong Care for PKU

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JAMA. 2000;284(19):2445. doi:10.1001/jama.284.19.2445

Patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) should continue to adhere to a special diet throughout life rather than abandon it after childhood, a consensus panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded last month. The group's findings were intended to resolve a long-standing disagreement about the necessity of lifelong adherence to dietary restrictions that are troublesome for many patients.

The panel noted that while adults with PKU who are not on a phenylalanine-restricted diet have stable IQ scores, they perform more poorly on measures of attention and processing speed. "Metabolic control is necessary across the life span of individuals with PKU," the group concluded, although they conceded that "some relaxation may be tolerable, in some cases, as the individual ages."

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