Maternal Diabetes, Low Income Up ADHD Risk in Children

Maternal gestational diabetes, low socioeconomic status combo increases ADHD risk 14-fold

TUESDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Children exposed to maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and low socioeconomic status (SES), especially in combination, are at an increased risk of developing childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published online Jan. 2 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Yoko Nomura, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the City University of New York in New York City, and colleagues investigated the independent and synergistic effect of GDM and SES on neurodevelopment and ADHD outcomes in 212 preschool children. The primary outcome measures included ADHD diagnosis at 6 years of age; and well-validated measures of ADHD symptoms, neurobehavioral outcomes, cognitive functioning, and temperament at 4 years of age. Parent and teacher reports of behavioral and emotional problems at age 6 years were the secondary measures. Neurobehavioral measures were examined in relation to GDM and low SES.

The investigators identified an approximately two-fold increased risk for ADHD at age 6 years in children exposed to low SES and maternal GDM. The risk incurred by GDM was greater in families with lower SES than those with higher SES. Compromised neurobehavioral functioning, including lower IQ, poorer language, and impoverished behavioral and emotional functioning, were demonstrated by children who were exposed to both maternal GDM and low SES. A test for additive interaction identified a 14-fold increased risk for ADHD in children exposed to both maternal GDM and low SES; but children exposed to maternal GDM or low SES alone did not have a notable increased risk for ADHD.

"Maternal GDM and low SES, especially in combination, heighten the risk for childhood ADHD," the authors write.

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