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Maternal Hypothyroidism Linked to Risk for ADHD in Offspring

Risk for ADHD increased in children of mothers with hypothyroidism diagnosed prior to, during pregnancy

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Exposure to maternal hypothyroidism during the periconceptual period is associated with an increased risk for childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring, according to a study published online Oct. 21 in the American Journal of Perinatology.

Morgan R. Peltier, Ph.D., from the NYU-Long Island School of Medicine in Mineola, New York, and colleagues abstracted data from linked maternal-child medical records to examine the impact of maternal hypothyroidism prior to or during pregnancy on the risk for childhood ADHD.

The researchers found that hypothyroidism diagnosed prior to or during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk for ADHD in children (adjusted hazard ratios [aHRs], 1.27 [95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.15 to 1.41] and 1.17 [95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.38], respectively). The association was strongest with diagnosis during the first trimester (aHR, 1.28; 95 percent CI, 1.04 to 1.58). A significantly increased risk for ADHD was seen for children born preterm if their mothers were diagnosed prior to, but not during, pregnancy (aHR, 1.43; 95 percent CI, 1.09 to 1.8). The impact of maternal hypothyroidism on increased ADHD risk was stronger for boys than girls (aHRs, 1.26 [95 percent CI, 1.14 to 1.40] and 1.19 [95 percent CI, 1.01 to 1.40], respectively) and for Hispanic children versus other race ethnicities (aHR, 1.45; 95 percent CI, 1.25 to 1.68).

“Our findings make clear that thyroid health likely has a much larger role in fetal brain development and behavioral disorders like ADHD than we previously understood,” Peltier said in a statement.

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