The earlier a child's birth, the higher the risk of developing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and being prescribed for it, state researchers in Sweden.
Although it was an already established fact that premature babies are likely to develop ADHD, this new study states that the size of the risk depends on the level of prematurity, that even babies born not so early, face a risk. And so, the researchers have advised women planning on caesarian births to wait as close as to full term as possible.
The researchers looked at a drug registry that recorded prescribed medication for ADHD. They discovered that 16 in 1000 babies born between 23 and 28 weeks were on medications, compared to 6 in 1000 babies born between 39 and 41 weeks. So, the earliest born babies were 2 ½ times more likely to be on prescribed medication than the ones born at full term. The researchers took into account other factors such as socioeconomic status and maternal smoking in their findings.
The researchers are quick to note that this does not necessarily mean that all premature babies have to face this condition. However the cautionary note exists that there is a potential for problems and premature babies should be closely monitored as they grow up.
Another fact to be noted is that the study looked at just the details about prescribed medication, not at how many children actually do have ADHD.
Also, ADHD need not be a permanent condition, as some researchers point out. In an earlier study, researchers in Finland discovered that ADHD children did grow out of the problem as they reached adulthood.