Monday, November 23, 2009

The Environment and ADHD

A new study was published in Pediatrics today that deals with one of the other major childhood disorders, ADHD.  According the this study, a child is more likely to develop ADHD if they have prenatal exposure or childhood exposure to lead.  I have not read the study yet, but from the press it is getting it seems this is a result is going to be an important one -

Association of Tobacco and Lead Exposures With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
METHODS Data are from the 2001–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample of the US population. Participants were 8 to 15 years of age (N = 2588). Prenatal tobacco exposure was measured by report of maternal cigarette use during pregnancy. Lead exposure was assessed by using current blood lead levels. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children was used to ascertain the presence of ADHD in the past year, on the basis of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, criteria.
RESULTS A total of 8.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 7.3%–10.1%) of children met criteria for ADHD. Prenatal tobacco exposure (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 2.4 [95% CI: 1.5–3.7]) and higher current blood lead concentrations (aOR for third versus first tertile: 2.3 [95% CI: 1.5–3.8]) were independently associated with ADHD. Compared with children with neither exposure, children with both exposures (prenatal tobacco exposure and third-tertile lead levels) had an even greater risk of ADHD (aOR: 8.1 [95% CI: 3.5–18.7]) than would be expected if the independent risks were multiplied (tobacco-lead exposure interaction term, P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS Prenatal tobacco and childhood lead exposures are associated with ADHD in US children, especially among those with both exposures. Reduction of these common toxicant exposures may be an important avenue for ADHD prevention.
Edited to add : Here is a good write up of this study.

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