ADHD and Dementia Across Generations

ADHD has been linked to dementia in many generations, according to research from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet. According to a research published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, people with ADHD have a greater chance of dementia in their parents and grandparents than those without ADHD in their kids or grandkids. “According to the results, the link between ADHD and dementia may be due to shared genetic and/or environmental factors. Further research is needed to uncover the processes at work “says Le Zhang, a PhD student at the Karolinska Institutete’s Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are hallmarks of ADHD, a neurodevelopmental condition. About 3% of adults throughout the globe are affected. Since more people are becoming aware of ADHD and learning more about it, the number of new cases has risen significantly. A small number of studies have looked at the development of dementia in individuals with ADHD, but since the diagnosis is still relatively new, findings are frequently contradictory. Researchers set out to find a way around this problem by looking at how many older people with ADHD had been diagnosed with dementia. More over two million Swedes were born between 1980 and 2001, and 3.2% of them were found to have ADHD, according to the research. Over five million biological relatives, including parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, were connected to these people through national registries by the researchers, who then looked at whether or not any of these relatives had dementia.

ADHD parents had a 34% greater risk of dementia than non-ADHD parents, according to the study’s findings. Parents of children with ADHD had a 55 percent greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the most prevalent form of dementia. The risk of having parents with early-onset dementia was higher among those with ADHD than the general population. The absolute risk of dementia in the parent cohort was minimal, according to the study’s authors; just 0.17 percent of the parents had dementia at the end of the study’s follow-up period.

Second-degree relatives of ADHD patients, such as grandparents, uncles, and aunts, had a lower relationship. For example, compared to grandparents of people without ADHD, grandparents of those with ADHD had a 10% higher risk of dementia. There was no cause-and-effect connection found in this study, although the researchers do provide various possibilities that may be investigated further. There may be unknown genetic variations that contribute to both characteristics, or family-wide environmental risk factors like socioeconomic status that influence the relationship, says Zheng Chang, Karolinska Institutet researcher and study’s final author. According to this theory, ADHD raises the chance of physical health problems, which in turn increases the risk of dementia.

Journal Reference : Le Zhang, Ebba Du Rietz, Ralf Kuja‐Halkola, Maja Dobrosavljevic, Kristina Johnell, Nancy L. Pedersen, Henrik Larsson, Zheng Chang. Attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s disease and any dementia: A multi‐generation cohort study in SwedenAlzheimer’s & Dementia, 2021; DOI: 10.1002/alz.12462

Categories: Clinical