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Health & Medicine Asthma May Increase Risk of ADHD

Asthma May Increase Risk of ADHD

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First Posted: Aug 13, 2013 04:02 PM EDT
Salmonella Infection Reduces the Occurence of Asthma in Mice
Some asthma medications may increase the risk of sleep apnea (Photo : Reuters/Newscom)

Statistics show that nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 to 17 receiving an ADHD diagnosis, there has been a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 41 percent rise in the past decade in this health disorder, according to the a recent article from the New York Times.

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Yet a new study shows that there could be a link between the number of children in the United States with an attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) who also have an allergy or asthma.

"ADHD, a chronic mental health disorder, is most commonly found in males, while asthma is also more common in young boys than girls," said Eelko Hak, lead study author, via a press release. "We found there is an increased risk of ADHD in boys with a history of asthma and an even stronger risk associated with milk intolerance."

Researchers looked at 884 boys with ADHD and 3,536 boys without the disorder. Thirty-four percent also had asthma and 35 percent had an allergic disorder. Study authors believe that some medications used to treat these conditions could increase the risk for ADHD.

"Further research is needed to understand why there appears to be an increased risk of developing ADHD in children with allergy and asthma," said Gailen Marshall, via the release, MD, editor-in-chief of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "Medications for these conditions far outweigh the risks, and can be life-saving in some conditions. Treatment should not be stopped, unless advised by a board-certified allergist."

The release concludes with the following regarding background information from the study: "According to the ACAAI, allergy and asthma often run in families. If both parents have an allergy a child has a 75 percent chance of being allergic. If neither parent has allergy, the chance of a child developing an allergy is only 10 to 15 percent. Allergists also know allergies and asthma are linked. An estimated 60 to 80 percent of children with asthma also have an allergy. While the cause of ADHD is unknown, this disorder is also thought to run in families."

What do you think?

More information regarding the study can be found in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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