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Early-Term Births Associated With Higher Rate of ADHD as Reported by Teachers - Neuroscience News

Early-Term Births Associated With Higher Rate of ADHD as Reported by Teachers - Neuroscience News

Early-Term Births Associated With Higher Rate of ADHD as Reported by Teachers - Neuroscience News
Aug 14, 2022 2 mins, 16 secs

Summary: Children born at 37-38 weeks gestation scored significantly higher on teacher rating scales for ADHD, inattention, and cognitive problems than children born between 39-41 weeks.

Among children born at term (37–41 weeks), those born before 39 weeks are more likely to experience symptoms associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study by Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

school-age children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, manifests early in childhood with symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity or inattention, and has known links to preterm birth (less than 37 weeks gestation).

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, is one of only a few to investigate the associations between gestational age at term (37–41 weeks) and a diagnosis or symptoms of ADHD.

During the nine-year follow-up, consent was obtained to contact the children’s teachers, who were asked to evaluate their students using the Conners’ Teacher Rating Scale–Revised Short Form, which includes symptoms of hyperactivity, ADHD, oppositional behavior and cognitive problems or inattention.

Overall, the Rutgers researchers found that children born early-term (37–38 weeks) had significantly higher scores on the teacher rating scales than children who were full-term (39–41 weeks) for hyperactivity, ADHD and cognitive problems or inattention, but that gestational age wasn’t significantly associated with oppositional behavior.

Specifically, the researchers found that each week of gestational age at term was associated with 6 percent lower hyperactivity scores and 5 percent lower ADHD and cognitive problems or inattention scores, and that birth at 37 to 38 weeks was associated with 23 percent higher hyperactivity scores and 17 percent higher ADHD scores when compared with birth at 39 to 41 weeks.

“The findings add to growing evidence supporting current recommendations for delaying elective deliveries to at least 39 weeks and suggest that regular screenings for ADHD symptoms are important for children born at 37 to 38 weeks,” Reichman said.

To estimate associations between gestational age (GA) and teacher-reported ADHD- related symptom patterns at age 9 among children born at term (37–41 weeks)

At age 9, students were evaluated by their teachers using the Conners Teacher Rating Scale–Revised Short Form that included subscales for symptoms of hyperactivity, ADHD, oppositional behavior, and cognitive problems/inattention

Each week of GA at term was associated with hyperactivity scores that were 6% lower (adjusted IRR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.89–0.99) and ADHD and cognitive problems/inattention scores that were 5% lower (adjusted IRR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.91–0.98 in both cases)

Early-term birth (37–38 weeks) was associated with 23% higher hyperactivity scores (adjusted IRR: 1.23; 95% CI:1.07–1.41), 17% higher ADHD scores (adjusted IRR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.05–1.30), and ∼50% higher odds of scoring 1.5+ standard deviations above the sample mean for hyperactivity (adjusted OR: 1.51; 95% CI: 1.05–2.18) when compared to birth at 39-41 weeks

The findings add to growing evidence supporting current recommendations for delaying elective deliveries to at least 39 weeks and suggest that regular screenings for ADHD symptoms are important for children born at 37-38 weeks GA


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