Could head injuries cause ADHD?

A paper published in the Nov. 8 online edition of the British Medical Journal reported that younger children who suffer head injuries are more likely to develop attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder later in life. Dr. Heather Keenan, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, led a group that studied just over 62,000 children registered in a British health improvement network database; children with head injuries were compared with burn/scald victims before the age of 2 and everyone else.

The children studied who had head injuries had a 90 percent higher chance of being diagnosed with ADHD before age 10 in comparison to the general population. Children who suffered from a scalding incident had a 70 percent higher chance of being diagnosed when compared with the general population.

Despite the findings, Dr. Keenan was skeptical, saying that it is nearly impossible to determine whether or not the children who suffered from the studied injuries would have gone on to develop ADHD regardless of the injuries.

"We wanted to make sure that if we saw a relationship between head injury and ADHD, it wasn't just that kids with early injuries were showing behavioral traits that would make them more likely to be diagnosed versus the head injury itself," she said.

For more information:
- check out this Washington Post article (via HealthDay News)