ADHD Linked To Dementia Across Generations, New Study Claims

Brain News: New study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association shows a link between ADHD and dementia across generations. Researchers found that parents and grandparents of individuals with ADHD were at higher risk of dementia than those with children and grandchildren without ADHD.

ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) affects 3% of adults globally. It is a neurobehavioral disorder characterised by short attention span, poor organization skills, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Dementia is a syndrome characterized by impaired ability to remember things, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.

In the current study, researchers looked at more than two million people born in Sweden between 1980 and 2001, of whom around 3.2 percent were diagnosed with ADHD. They linked these people to over 5 million biological relatives, including parents, grandparents and uncles and aunts, to find the extent these relatives developed dementia.

Parents of individuals with ADHD had 34% higher risk of dementia and 55% higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease than parents of individuals without ADHD. Individuals with ADHD were more likely to have parents with early-onset dementia than late-onset. The association was lower for second-degree relatives of individuals with ADHD, i.e. grandparents and uncles and aunts. The exact cause-and-effect relationship is unclear.

“The findings suggest that there are common genetic and/or environmental contributions to the association between ADHD and dementia. Now we need further studies to understand the underlying mechanisms,” says the study’s first author Le Zhang.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Zhang, L., Du Rietz, E., Kuja‐Halkola, R., Dobrosavljevic, M., Johnell, K., Pedersen, N. L., Larsson, H., & Chang, Z. (2021). Attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s disease and any dementia: A multi‐generation cohort study in Sweden. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.12462

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