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Lead exposure in childhood ups risk of ADHD; boys more vulnerable

05 Aug 2018
Reach East @ the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Early childhood exposure to lead appears to increase the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a recent study. Moreover, this effect is more pronounced for boys than for girls.

The study included 1,479 mother-infant pairs, in whom ADHD was diagnosed in 299 (mean gestational age 37.1±4.2 weeks; 71.24 percent male) while the remaining 1,180 were neurotypical (mean gestational age 38.5±2.5 weeks; 42.29 percent male). Electronic medical records were accessed for blood lead measurements. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the dose-response relationship between lead exposure and ADHD risk.

When blood lead levels were considered as three distinct categories, researchers found that those with 2–4 µg/dL (odds ratio [OR], 1.08; 95 percent CI, 0.81–1.44) and 5–10 µg/dL (OR, 1.73; 10) of lead were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than those with <2 µg/dL of lead.

The same was true when the natural log-transformed linear trend of blood lead levels was considered (OR, 1.25; 1.01–1.56) or when lead concentrations were taken as a binary variable (<5 vs 5–10 µg/dL: OR, 1.66; 1.08–2.56).

Stratification by sex showed that at blood lead levels of 5–10 µg/dL, boys were at least seven times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as girls with <5 µg/dL of blood lead (OR, 7.48; 4.29–13.02; p<0.001). The risk was also higher in boys vs girls with <5 µg/dL of blood lead (OR, 3.02; 2.24–4.06; p<0.001).

In comparison, high levels of lead in the blood did not seem to increase the risk of ADHD diagnosis in girls (<5 vs 5–10 µg/dL: OR, 0.69; 0.28–1.71; p=0.426).

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Most Read Articles
18 Aug 2018
Despite the absence of a substance use problem, regular cannabis use is associated with psychosocial impairment among adolescents and young adults, a study suggests. On the other hand, regular users with cannabis use disorder appear to exhibit high psychiatric comorbidity and more severe psychosocial impairment.
07 Sep 2018
Children with Down syndrome appear to have an elevated risk of developing severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, a study has found.
21 Mar 2018
During the Kuala Lumpur International Neonatology Conference held in conjunction with the World Prematurity Day 2017, Dato Dr Musa Mohd Nordin spoke on the importance of immunizing children with the diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-inactivated poliovirus-Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib) vaccine. He highlighted the role of Hexaxim® as a fully liquid, ready-to-use, 6-in-1 (including hepatitis B) vaccine for the primary and booster vaccinations of infants and toddlers. Meanwhile, Dr Yong Junina Fadzil discussed the benefits of quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIVs) in providing children with broader protection against influenza B viruses.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 01 Sep 2018
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