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High Prenatal Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio Linked to ADHD at Age 7

Higher prenatal n-6:n-3 ratio in cord plasma linked to a higher ADHD score at age 7 years, but not at age 4

FRIDAY, March 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A higher prenatal omega-6:omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio in cord plasma is associated with a higher attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) index score for the child at age 7 years, according to a study published online March 28 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Mónica López-Vicente, Ph.D., from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain, and colleagues examined the correlation between n-6 arachidonic acid and n-3 eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid concentrations measured in cord plasma and ADHD symptoms at ages 4 and 7 years. ADHD symptoms were reported by teachers at age 4 years (580 children) and by parents at age 7 years (642 children). The ADHD variable was treated as continuous and dichotomous (score and symptom diagnostic criteria, respectively).

The researchers observed a correlation for a higher omega-6:omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio in cord plasma with increased ADHD index score (incidence rate ratio, 1.13; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.23) at age 7. At age 4 years, no association was observed using the continuous ADHD symptoms score (incidence rate ratio, 1.04; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.92 to 1.18). Using ADHD symptom diagnostic criteria, no associations were observed.

“Future research should measure ADHD symptoms using the same rating scales across assessment periods to further understand the trajectory patterns of this complex outcome,” the authors write.

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