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Study finds association between oxygen deprivation before birth and ADHD
Date:12/9/2012

PASADENA, Calif., December 10, 2012 Children who had in-utero exposure to ischemic-hypoxic conditions, situations during which the brain is deprived of oxygen, were significantly more likely to develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder later in life as compared to unexposed children, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal Pediatrics. The findings suggest that events in pregnancy may contribute to the occurrence of ADHD over and above well-known familial and genetic influences of the disorder.

The population-based study examines the association between IHC and ADHD. Researchers examined the electronic health records of nearly 82,000 children ages 5 years old and found that prenatal exposure to IHC especially birth asphyxia, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, and preeclampsia was associated with a 16 percent greater risk of developing ADHD. Specifically, exposure to birth asphyxia was associated with a 26 percent greater risk of developing ADHD, exposure to neonatal respiratory distress syndrome was associated with a 47 percent greater risk, and exposure to preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) was associated with a 34 percent greater risk. The study also found that the increased risk of ADHD remained the same across all race and ethnicity groups.

"Previous studies have found that hypoxic injury during fetal development leads to significant structural and functional brain injuries in the offspring," said study lead author Darios Getahun, MD, PhD, of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. "However, this study suggests that the adverse effect of hypoxia and ischemia on prenatal brain development may lead to functional problems, including ADHD."

Researchers also found that the association between IHC and ADHD was strongest in preterm births and that deliveries that were breech, transverse (shoulder-first) or had cord complications were foun
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Contact: Vincent Staupe
vstaupe@golinharris.com
415-318-4386
Kaiser Permanente
Source:Eurekalert

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