In 2001, Patrick Cristopher Rolland was a candidate for the Master of Technology in Chiropractic Degree from Technikon Witwaterstrand, South Africa. His master's thesis was The Effect of Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy on Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The method was to recruit a total of 30 children (ages 6-12 years) previously diagnosed by others ADHD. They were divided evenly into the treatment group and the control group. During the course of the study, participants continued to receive the therapies and support that were in place prior to the beginning of the study. The treatment group had n=7 on medication, and the control group had n=4.
Over the course of the study, there were marked drop-offs in both the treatment group and the control group. The final numbers were n=6 for the control group and n=9 for the experimental group. Both groups were heavily weighted towards boys, with n=1 girls in each group. The other, underlying treatments for ADHD were not controlled for, as the treatment group had n=7 on medication, and the control group had n=4.
The difference between the treatment group and the control group was that the treatment group received "Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy" (CMT) and the control group received "placebo Activator Method Chiropractic Therapy"
The outcome of this study is (a) compromised by missing pages from the thesis (my copy skips from page 43 to 51-- including the chapter on discussion (b) the large drop-off of subjects.
Despite these shortcomings, does this study validate the notion that spinal manipulation or chiropractic care can be a useful adjunct to the management of ADHD in children?
No. The parents' responses were positive -- but the parents knew that the study subjects were enrolled in the study. Bias is unavoidable. The teachers' responses (who presumably did not know the childrens' participation) were unchanged.