My in-laws have recently moved in with us while waiting for a nursing home. We have been failsafe for years and I have noticed a trend, that whenever my mother in law eats artificial colours and flavours in something like a finger bun with pink icing, or the cheap and nasty cream biscuits, she becomes very oppositional ... more so than usual.

My father in law does not and won't accept the role food plays in our life, and he is the one who buys the rubbish. For our own sanity, we will just have to hide it, then throw it out. I can now understand what living with a child with ODD must be like. I am sure she would have loved to hit me the other day!!!!!!

Given that in nursing homes, a lot of the food has artificial colourings, (e.g. jelly and custard etc), I was wondering if any research has been done on the effect of food AFTER dementia has set in. There are plenty of websites that tell you how to AVOID dementia , but it is too late for that.

So far we have noticed greater oppositional defiance after the ingestion of food that has additives e.g. Farmland Cream biscuits - the two occasions she had ONE, there was a reaction later that day.

Yesterday I think there was also a reaction to salicylates (some tomato sauce she was given at lunch time). Her husband makes most decisions for her ... and I was at work. During the afternoon she tried to put her used control pants down the toilet, rather than in the nappy bucket ... but she was aware she had done something wrong ... it was the first time she had done that. I will try and keep a food diary from now on, although I am not in control of what she eats while I am at work.

Ten days later: I kept a food diary and limited the types of food that my mother-in-law had over the previous week. Then at the weekend she had an iced donut (with artificial colours and probably other additives) on the Saturday and Sunday. The upshot is that last week was TERRIBLE ... she was introspective, restless, agitated, didn't do what was asked ... and ultimately she had a fall. She is now very depressed. There is no way we will give her a donut again! Cheryl, by email