Scientists have linked maternal autoimmune diseases to the development of ADHD in children.

Children whose mothers had an autoimmune disease were more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This conclusion of the researchers is confirmed by a meta-analysis.

The presence of an autoimmune disease in women increased the likelihood of a child developing ADHD by 30%, a study by Australian scientists showed, the results of which were published in JAMA Pediatrics.

During the analysis, scientists compared 12 thousand children who were born to women with autoimmune diseases in 2000–2010 and 50 thousand ordinary children. Observation continued until the end of 2014. Separately, the researchers looked at which maternal diseases increased the risk of ADHD in the child. They were type 1 diabetes, psoriasis and rheumatic fever.

The authors also conducted a meta-analysis, which in addition to this study included four more published by the end of 2019. Finally, type 1 diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and psoriasis were associated with ADHD risks. Diabetes showed the highest risks.

Scientists speculate that there may be genetic factors linking autoimmune diseases and ADHD. It is also possible that the activation of the mother’s immune system may play a role in disrupting the neuropsychic development of children.

The authors recommend that physicians discuss pregnancy planning with patients with autoimmune diseases. For planning pregnancy, a period when the disease is well controlled is recommended. In addition, the children of such women may benefit from additional monitoring and support during development.

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