Diet termination in children with phenylketonuria: a review of psychological assessments used to determine outcome

J Inherit Metab Dis. 1980;3(4):149-53. doi: 10.1007/BF02312549.


This paper reviews the 19 published studies that have utilized psychological assessments in determining the outcome of children with phenylketonuria who have discontinued a phenylalanine-restricted diet. About half the studies showed that, after diet termination, the intellectual performance of children decreased, while the other studies indicated that the intellectual performance of the children did not change. Difficulties in the use of intelligence tests to answer questions about diet termination are outlined. Due to the methodological difficulties and the varying results reported, the issue concerning the safety of diet discontinuation remains unresolved. The conclusion is that the task now is to differentiate those children who should remain on the diet from those who may safely terminate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Phenylketonurias / diet therapy*
  • Phenylketonurias / psychology