10 Things We Learned About ADHD in 2016

Health Writer

The use of stimulant medication might result in lower bone density

Stimulant medication has been shown to slow the rate of a child’s growth, but a new study found that it may also result in lower bone density. Researchers found that children who used stimulant medication had about a five percent lower bone mineral content than those who did not use stimulant medication.

For some people, ADHD symptoms do not appear until after childhood

ADHD is generally seen as early-onset: that is, symptoms appear in early childhood. But a study completed in the UK found that, for some people, symptoms do not appear until later. The researchers found that 70 percent of young adults diagnosed with ADHD did not meet the criteria for the disorder during childhood assessments.

Are children with ADHD really just “immature?”

The youngest children in a class are more apt to be diagnosed with ADHD. A study in Taiwan found that these children were diagnosed with ADHD more often than older children in the class. When having a child assessed for ADHD, the age, not just the grade, of your child should be taken into consideration.

Motivation to complete tasks requiring focus improves after exercise

Even a short bout of exercise can help improve motivation to complete a task in adults with ADHD. During the study, 32 young men with elevated ADHD symptoms exercised for 20 minutes on one day and spent the same amount of time resting on alternate days. After the exercise, the men felt more alert and more motivated to complete the task.

What you eat during pregnancy might increase the risk of ADHD in your child

According to a study completed at Kings College, London, children born of mothers who ate a diet high in fats and sugar during pregnancy had genetic changes that affected brain development and were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD later in life.

Women with ADHD at risk for other health conditions and financial problems

A study completed in Toronto looked at the results of the Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health. Of the women diagnosed with ADHD, there were more health concerns, including severe physical pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

Acetaminophen during pregnancy could increase risk of hyperactivity and behavior problems

Researchers found that children whose mothers took acetaminophen during pregnancy had a higher rate of hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Another study, completed in Spain in 2016, found a higher risk of hyperactivity and impulsivity when the mother took acetaminophen during pregnancy.

Taking vitamin D during pregnancy lowered rate of ADHD in children

According to researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, when mothers take vitamin D during pregnancy, the risk of their child developing ADHD is lower than for those mothers who did not take vitamin D.

Girls with ADHD have higher risk of developing other mental health issues

Oppositional defiance disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) showed up in 42 percent of girls with ADHD diagnosed with ODD, as compared to five percent of those without ADHD. The authors of the study point out that ODD and CD are more likely to participate in risky sexual behavior and be involved in abusive relationships, drug abuse and crime.

Allergies during pregnancy might factor in the development of ADHD and autism

Researchers at Ohio State University looked at the connection between allergies in mother rats during pregnancy and ADHD in their offspring. The rats were injected with a known allergen during their pregnancy. The male offspring showed behavior characteristics similar to ADHD: they were hyperactive and had difficulty with socialization.

Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of Idiot's Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot's Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love and Essential Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.