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14 July 2016

Study calls for children with epilepsy to be monitored early for ADHD symptoms

Children with epilepsy and febrile seizures have a higher risk of developing attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), says a new study.

The study, published in Pediatrics journal says that parents of children with epilepsy or febrile seizures should be advised to be vigilant about ADHD, paying close attention to academic performance, which is influenced by ADHD.

Identify ADHD early

The study also calls for paediatricians to monitor children at risk in order to identify ADHD early and offer treatment before symptoms progress.

Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues in Norway examined medical data from more than 900,000 people born in Denmark between 1990 and 2007 up until 2012.

Study findings

The researchers found that 1.5 per cent of the sample group were diagnosed with epilepsy and almost 3.8 per cent had febrile seizures.  More than 2.3 per cent of the group developed ADHD during the study period.  The analysis took into account other risk factors for developing ADHD, including socioeconomic status and psychiatric disorders.

The study found that children with epilepsy had a three-times greater risk of developing ADHD than the healthy population.  The risk was 20- 30 per cent higher in children who had febrile seizures than in children who did not.

Previous studies

Previous studies have shown similar results, but this study examined a larger group of children over a longer period of time.  The results were significant, although researchers were not able to show that epilepsy and febrile seizures caused the ADHD in the people they had studied.



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