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Gestational diabetes influences ADHD


Children exposed to gestational diabetes mellitus combined with low socioeconomic status appear to be at increased risk for developing childhood ADHD. This is according to a new report published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA publications.

“Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) typically develops in the second and third trimesters and is defined as glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy,” the authors wrote. “The prevalence of GDM has been rising for over 20 years, particularly among ethnic minorities and individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES), as have lifestyle changes that heighten risk including greater consumption of saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods, and sedentary working environments.”

To examine these relationships, researchers compared the children of mothers with and without GDM in an economically diverse sample. They surveyed the parents using the ADHD Rating Scale-IV and from the pool found 212 children to join the study. There was a 2:1 ratio of at-risk versus typically developing children.

The average inattention score at baseline for offspring exposed to GDM was significantly higher than for the unexposed. However, there was no difference in activity/impulsivity scores.

Children exposed to both GDM and SES revealed compromised neurobehavioral functioning, with lower IQ, poorer language abilities and diminished social functioning. The authors found a 14-fold increased risk of ADHD among children exposed to both compared to those children exposed to neither.

“This study demonstrates that children of mothers with GDM raised in lower SES households are at far greater risk for developing ADHD and showing signs of suboptimal neurocognitive and behavioral development,” the authors concluded.

Source: ScienceDaily, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

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