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Childhood Asthma Linked to ADHD in Adolescence

Risk of hyperactivity-impulsivity increases in children with asthma, independent of medication

FRIDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Childhood asthma is associated with subsequent development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly the hyperactivity-impulsivity (HI) component in adolescence, according to a study published online May 21 in Allergy.

Nina Mogensen, M.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues investigated the association between childhood asthma and development of ADHD (HI and inattention [IN]) in adolescence. Data on birth weight, socioeconomic status, asthma, HI and IN, zygosity, and medication use were collected from 1,480 Swedish twin pairs at age 8 to 9 years and at 13 to 14 years. The correlation between asthma at age 8 to 9 and ADHD symptoms at age 13 to 14 was assessed. A twin analysis was performed to assess the contribution of genetic and environmental factors.

The investigators found that, independent of asthma medication, children who had asthma at age 8 to 9 had almost double the risk of having one or more symptom of HI (odds ratio [OR], 1.88), and more than double the risk of having three or more HI symptoms (OR, 2.73) at age 13 to 14. No significant association was seen for IN. Based on the twin analysis, 68 percent of the phenotypic correlation between asthma and HI were attributed to genetic influences (r = 0.23).

"This population-based longitudinal study indicates that early asthma is associated with an increased risk of elevated levels of hyperactivity-impulsivity later in life," the authors write.

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