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Study: Multiple Sclerosis in Mother Increases Chance of Children Having ADHD

March 29, 2017

Mothers with chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, have a higher risk of having children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a Norwegian study.

The findings were reported in a study titled “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Offspring of Mothers With Inflammatory and Immune System Diseases” in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

ADHD, which is two to three times more frequent in boys than girls, stems from deficient development of the nervous system. One hypothesis is that maternal inflammation generates a harmful inflammatory response in the fetus’s central nervous system.

In the study, researchers investigated whether mothers with chronic inflammatory diseases are at higher risk of having children with ADHD.

The study covered millions of Norwegian children born between 1967 and 2008. Researchers defined ADHD patients as the 47,944 who received ADHD medication between 2004 and 2012. The remaining 2,274,713 individuals were the control group in the study.

Researchers confirmed previous studies’ findings that there were more boys in the ADHD group — 65.7% — than the control group — 50.9%. Also, parents of children with ADHD were younger and had less education than parents of those who were not medicated for ADHD.

The team found that within the ADHD children’s group, the frequency of mothers with inflammatory chronic diseases was higher. These diseases included multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, asthma, and hypothyroidism. Maternal multiple sclerosis was associated with 80% higher odds of ADHD in children.