Neurological disorders affecting child brain development and behaviour
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (ASD) A number of recent studies show an increase in the incidence and prevalence of autism over the last 50 years. Studies in several countries show a population rate of one in 500.
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is now the most common neuro-developmental disorder in children in Europe. Studies in several countries show a population rate of one in 500. In the UK, 3.62% of boys and 0.85% of girls aged 4-15 are affected. Incidence rates in EU countries range from 2-10%.
Obesity in Men With Childhood ADHD: A 33-Year Controlled, Prospective, Follow-up Study
A new study conducted by researchers at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center found men diagnosed as children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were twice as likely to be obese in a 33-year follow-up study compared to men who were not diagnosed with the condition ; the Body Mass Index of children diagnosed with ADHD and put on medications to treat the condition can increase months or even years after they’ve stopped taking their treatment.
OBJECTIVE: To compare BMI and obesity rates in fully grown men with and without childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We predicted higher BMI and obesity rates in: (1) men with, versus men without, childhood ADHD; (2) men with persistent, versus men with remitted, ADHD; and (3) men with persistent or remitted ADHD versus those without childhood ADHD.
METHODS: Men with childhood ADHD were from a cohort of 207 white boys (referred at a mean age of 8.3 years), interviewed blindly at mean ages 18 (FU18), 25 (FU25), and 41 years (FU41). At FU18, 178 boys without ADHD were recruited. At FU41, 111 men with childhood ADHD and 111 men without childhood ADHD self-reported their weight and height.
RESULTS: Men with childhood ADHD had significantly higher BMI (30.1 ± 6.3 vs 27.6 ± 3.9; P = .001) and obesity rates (41.4% vs 21.6%; P = .001) than men without childhood ADHD. Group differences remained significant after adjustment for socioeconomic status and lifetime mental disorders. Men with persistent (n = 24) and remitted (n = 87) ADHD did not differ significantly in BMI or obesity rates. Even after adjustment, men with remitted (but not persistent) ADHD had significantly higher BMI (B: 2.86 [95% CI: 1.22 to 4.50]) and obesity rates (odds ratio: 2.99 [95% CI: 1.55 to 5.77]) than those without childhood ADHD.
CONCLUSIONS: Children with ADHD are at increased risk of obesity as adults. Findings of elevated BMI and obesity rates in men with remitted ADHD require replication.
Sources and Press releases
Obesity in Men With Childhood ADHD: A 33-Year Controlled, Prospective, Follow-up Study, PEDIATRICS Vol. 131 No. 6 June 1, 2013, pp. e1731 -e1738, (doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-0540) /131/6/e1731
First Long-Term Study Reveals Link Between Childhood ADHD and Obesity, The Office of Communications & Public Affairs, May 20, 2013, News Releases
Children of mothers who took valproate during their pregnancy are at a significantly greater risk for a diagnosis of ADHD
Abstract: The Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) study is a prospective observational multicenter study in the USA and UK, which enrolled pregnant women with epilepsy on antiepileptic drug (AED) monotherapy from 1999 to 2004. The study aimed to determine if differential long-term neurodevelopmental effects exist across four commonly used AEDs (carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin, and valproate).
In this report, we examine fetal AED exposure effects on adaptive and emotional/behavioral functioning at 6 years of age in 195 children (including three sets of twins) whose parent (in most cases, the mother) completed at least one of the rating scales. Adjusted mean scores for the four AED groups were in the low average to average range for parent ratings of adaptive functioning on the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-Second Edition (ABAS-II) and for parent and teacher ratings of emotional/behavioral functioning on the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC). However, children whose mothers took valproate during pregnancy had significantly lower General Adaptive Composite scores than the lamotrigine and phenytoin groups. Further, a significant dose-related performance decline in parental ratings of adaptive functioning was seen for both valproate and phenytoin. Children whose mothers took valproate were also rated by their parents as exhibiting significantly more atypical behaviors and inattention than those in the lamotrigine and phenytoin groups. Based upon BASC parent and teacher ratings of attention span and hyperactivity, children of mothers who took valproate during their pregnancy were at a significantly greater risk for a diagnosis of ADHD.
The increased likelihood of difficulty with adaptive functioning and ADHD with fetal valproate exposure should be communicated to women with epilepsy who require antiepileptic medication. Finally, additional research is needed to confirm these findings in larger prospective study samples, examine potential risks associated with other AEDs, better define the risks to the neonate that are associated with AEDs for treatment of seizures, and understand the underlying mechanisms of adverse AED effects on the immature brain.
Prenatal and Early Childhood Bisphenol A Concentrations and Behavior in School-Aged Children
Boys exposed to higher Bisphenol-A (BPA) concentrations as a fetus or during early childhood were more likely to suffer from anxiety, aggression, depression and hyperactivity at age 7, according to a new study. No association was found for girls. The new research adds to a growing body of evidence linking BPA to behavioral problems in children.
Prenatal and Early Childhood Bisphenol A Concentrations and Behavior in School-Aged Children, NCBI PubMed PMC380575, 2013 Jul 17.
Introduction Early life exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting chemical used in some food and beverage containers, receipts, and dental sealants, has been associated with anxiety and hyperactivity in animal studies. A few human studies also show prenatal and childhood BPA exposure to be associated with behavior problems in children.
Methods We measured BPA in urine from mothers during pregnancy and children at 5 years of age (N = 292). Child behavior was assessed by mother and teacher report at age 7 years and direct assessment at age 9 years.
Results Prenatal urinary BPA concentrations were associated with increased internalizing problems in boys, including anxiety and depression, at age 7. No associations were seen with prenatal BPA concentrations and behaviors in girls. Childhood urinary BPA concentrations were associated with increased externalizing behaviors, including conduct problems, in girls at age 7 and increased internalizing behaviors and inattention and hyperactivity behaviors in boys and girls at age 7.
Conclusions This study adds to the existing literature showing associations of early life BPA exposure with behavior problems, including anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity in children. Additional information about timing of exposure and sex differences in effect is still needed.
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” There is good news and bad news about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — that is, if you’re a drug company. The bad news is the kid market has peaked out with 4.5 million U.S. children now carrying the label. The good news is adult ADHD is an emerging market. In fact, adult ADHD, with symptoms similar to pediatric ADHD such as impulsivity, distractibility and difficulty paying attention, following instructions and meeting deadlines, is the next big thing “.