Prematurity ups ADHD risk
Wed, 20 Apr 2011 11:56:09 GMT
Babies who are born prematurely are placed at an increased risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their school years.
A team of Swedish researchers, who reviewed data on more than 1 million children aged between 6 and 19 years, found that 7,506 of them had received a prescription for ADHD.
The findings appeared in the journal Pediatrics showed that the risk of developing ADHD is doubled in babies who were born prematurely, between the 23 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
In addition, children delivered between 35 and 36 weeks of gestation, had about a 30 percent higher chance of having ADHD compared with on time babies.
The finding suggests that the more mature the infants were at the time of birth the less was their risk of developing ADHD later in life.
“Our study is the first to report that the risk for ADHD is 40 to 60 percent higher in babies born moderately preterm," said lead author Anders Hjern from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.
"Even in babies born in the early term period -- at 37-38 weeks -- the risk is 20 percent higher," he added.
These findings underline the fact that preterm birth is associated with significant risks and needs to be given more attention in neonatal care and later on in the healthcare systems, Hjern said.
"The finding that early term birth carries an increased risk for ADHD has [especially] important implications for planned caesarian births, which are often performed during these very weeks," he noted.
"To minimize the risk for ADHD, these births should be planned as close to the full term date -- that is, week 40 -- as possible."