The parents' condition, known as Munchausen's syndrome by proxy, affects about one in 200,000 children under 16 in the UK.
Dr David Jones and colleagues at the Park Hospital for Children in Oxford chose 12 families with Munchausen's by proxy for therapy. The 13 children involved had "illnesses" including poisoning, facial disfigurement and "epilepsy" and failure to thrive. Ten of the children were returned to their parents and three were placed in care. Most of those returned developed normally.
Dr Jones, whose findings appear in Archives of Disease in Childhood, is one of 14 consultants threatened by parents for their work on the condition.Reuse content