A study published in this week’s Pediatrics finds that infants who experienced oxygen deprivation in utero are at an increased risk of developing attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in childhood.
Prenatal exposure to oxygen deprivation conditions, known as ischemic-hypoxic conditions, can result from birth asphyxia, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome and preeclampsia.
Researchers went through the medical records of nearly 82,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11 and found that children who had experienced those conditions were 16% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD later in childhood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 8.4% of children between the ages of 3 and 7 have been diagnosed with ADHD, and boys are more likely than girls to have it. Annually, the CDC estimates ADHD-related illness in children to cost between $36 billion and $52.4 billion.
Dr. Darios Getahun, lead author of the study, said that although there may not be any interventions aside from monitoring a mother and her child through pregnancy, knowing these factors can better assist physicians in tracking and diagnosing ADHD in children.
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