Traumatic Brain Injury Increases Risk of Developing ADHD

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Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may leave one more susceptible to developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  

Gabriela Ilie, PhD, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada, and colleagues examined data that was gleaned from a cross-sectional telephone survey of 4,000 Ontario adults.

Among adults who had a TBI, 5.9% also had been diagnosed with ADHD, the researchers reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. The figure rose to 6.6% when ADHD was measured by a self-report scale conducted during the interview.

The results are “not be surprising because some of the most persistent consequences of TBI include ADHD-like symptoms, such as memory and attention impairment, deficits in executive functions such as planning and organization, processing consonants and vowels and impulsive behavior,” Ilie said in a statement.

The number of TBIs around the world is increasing. The World Health Organization has predicted that by 2020, TBI will become the third largest contributor of disease and disability in the world, following heart disease and depression.

A Primer on Traumatic Brian Injury and Concussions
Adults who have suffered a traumatic brain injury at some point in their lives have a higher chance of developing ADHD.

A new study has found a "significant association" between adults who have suffered a traumatic brain injury at some point in their lives and who also have attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

The study, published today in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, supports research that found a similar association in children, said Dr. Gabriela Ilie, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral fellow at St. Michael's Hospital.

The data used in the adult study was collected by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Monitor, a continuous, cross-sectional telephone survey of almost 4,000 Ontario residents age 18 and older. Traumatic brain injury was described as any injury to the head that resulted in loss of consciousness for at least five minutes or overnight hospitalization. ADHD was measured by self-reported history of an ADHD diagnosis or the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale known as the ASRS.

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