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ADHD risk factors: oxygen deprivation worse than genetics

A recent study revealed a strong link between oxygen deprivation during foetal development and after birth. According to Kaiser Permanente researchers, oxygen deprivation could be a bigger risk factor than genes.

Dr Darios Getahun of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California research department reports that the effects of hypoxia (oxygen deficiency causing a very strong drive to correct the deficiency) and ischaemia (local anaemia in a given body part) on prenatal brain development can lead to functional problems like ADHD. He says that this discovery could assist doctors in early diagnosis and effective treatment.

According to the study, of those being oxygen deprived, foetuses had a 16% greater risk of developing ADHD, whereas the risk increased to 26% after birth. Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome proved a 47% greater risk and preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) increased risk to 34%.

The research determined that premature births had the highest risk of developing ADHD, with breech, shoulder-first, involved cord complication deliveries at a 13% higher risk.


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