Study finds ADHD risk may increase in pregnant women with autoimmune disorders

Health

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — According to a recent study of babies and mothers in Australia, pregnant women with autoimmune disorders are significantly more likely to have a baby who later develops attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.

Common autoimmune disorders include Type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis.

This specific study followed more than 63,000 children born between July 2000, and Dec. 2010 and followed up until the end of 2014.

The results found that a diagnosis of any autoimmune disease was associated with an increased risk of ADHD in the child at later ages.

Upstate Medical University’s Division Chief of Rheumatology, Dr. Andras Perl focuses on lupus in his clinical practice.

“In patients with lupus, ADHD symptoms are significantly increased,” said Perl.

Lupus is a genetic disease. So is ADHD.

“So you can imagine that people with lupus who have increased ADHD can transmit not only the lupus but the disposition to ADHD to their offspring,” he said.

Perl isn’t entirely sure whether it’s the autoimmune disease or the genetic makeup that can cause transmission.

ADHD is a neurological, neuropsychiatric disease, and patients with lupus, up to 80% have a neuropsychiatric disease. So the inflammation that’s inflicted in the body by autoimmunities so the body attacks itself as a foreign entity is also involved the brain.

Dr. Andras Perl

Some researchers believe chronic inflammation could alter fetal brain development.

Studies have also linked environmental factors to ADHD as well as pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure in the expecting mom.

Dr. Perl believes it has a lot to do with genetics.

“I think the chromosomes are very important. The genes are very important. There are genes in ADHD that may be also shared with Lupus.”

Dr. Andras perl

Dr. Perl was part of a clinical trial that suggests patients who are treated with antioxidant amino acids do better with ADHD.

He says they’re planning another trial to see just how beneficial the antioxidant is, but it’s been delayed because of COVID-19. Still, he thinks it would be helpful.

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