Parents of Children with ADHD at Risk of Developing Dementia
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) usually progresses from childhood into adulthood. But researchers have discovered something incredibly interesting about this disorder. People with ADHD have a higher risk of developing dementia. Furthermore, parents of children with ADHD are 34% more at risk of developing dementia than those whose descendants do not have ADHD. They also have a 55% chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. This link transcends to their grandparents and beyond.
It's strange, because how can ADHD in a child put their parents -- even grandparents -- at risk of dementia and Alzheimer's?
Examining the Link between ADHD and Dementia
While ADHD is a neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorder, dementia is neurodegenerative. So, where is the link?
The researchers claim that the link between ADHD and dementia is based on some genetic and/or environmental factors.
However, there have been several studies to understand the link between ADHD and dementia but so far, hardly any similar genetic variants have been found.
Both conditions are apparently worlds apart, so it's hard to see how ADHD and dementia risk could move across generations.
Does ADHD cause dementia?
The rate of ADHD diagnosis has increased over the past years, causing major awareness about the condition. However, it's still relatively new.
If ADHD is diagnosed in childhood, we will need decades to see if the child will later become an older adult with dementia.
So, how was this research conducted that found parents of ADHD at higher risk of dementia?
The researchers had to backtrack. Instead of examining from childhood up to adulthood, they looked at the older generations of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. To what extent do their parents get diagnosed with dementia?
The researchers studied over two million people born in Sweden.
Interestingly, the study showed that:
- Parents of children with ADHD were 34% more likely to develop dementia
- The risk of Alzheimer's was 55% among parents of children with ADHD.
- Parents of children with ADHD were more likely to develop dementia earlier than other older adults.
- The risk reduces for second-degree relatives; grandparents had a 10% increased risk of dementia as opposed to the 34% for parents.
More on the research here