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STUDY: Adult ADHD diagnosis linked to higher dementia risk

Adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might face an increased risk of developing dementia in their later years, according to a recent study.

While it’s important to note that this study doesn’t definitively establish a cause-and-effect relationship, it raises important questions about the connection between ADHD and dementia.

The study analyzed the medical records of over 100,000 individuals, and the findings indicate that adults diagnosed with ADHD have nearly three times the risk of being diagnosed with dementia later in life.

The researchers speculate that the processes related to adult ADHD could impact the brain’s ability to compensate for various factors that contribute to dementia, such as neurodegeneration and changes in blood flow.

Dr. Stephen Levine, the lead author of the study at the University of Haifa, notes, “This is consistent with the primary result that adult ADHD increases dementia risk, and there is mild evidence of reverse causation.”

When accounting for factors like age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking, and various health conditions, the researchers found that individuals diagnosed with adult ADHD during the study had a 2.77 times greater risk of developing dementia.

The study also brought to light a potential relationship between ADHD medication and dementia risk.

Notably, there was no clear association between ADHD and dementia risk among those who had been exposed to psychostimulant medication, which is commonly prescribed for ADHD. However, the researchers emphasize that this finding requires further investigation.

Understanding ADHD

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms can significantly impact a person’s daily life, including their ability to focus, organize tasks, and manage time.

In children, ADHD is often recognized during the school years, but in many cases, it continues into adulthood. In fact, some individuals may not receive a formal diagnosis until they are adults. Adult ADHD can be challenging, as it may lead to difficulties in relationships, work, and overall functioning.

While the exact cause of ADHD remains unclear, researchers believe it results from a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. It is not caused by poor parenting or a lack of discipline.

Managing ADHD

Treatment for ADHD typically involves a combination of behavioral therapies, lifestyle adjustments, and, in some cases, medication.

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