Premature birth linked to attention disorders

Babies born prematurely, even by a month, are at higher risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Children born prematurely premature would be more likely to develop attention disorders, according to findings from a study published in the medical journal Jama Pediatrics. Prematurity “begins” when birth occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway and those from the University of Bristol in the UK conducted a study with 113,227 children to understand the links between prematurity and behavioral disorders. The research analyzed data for children and siblings in the gestational age groups: early preterm (delivery at gestational weeks 22-33), late preterm (delivery at gestational weeks 34-36), early term (delivery at gestational weeks 37-38), delivery at gestational week 39, reference group (delivery at gestational week 40), delivery at gestational week 41, and late term (delivery after gestational week 41). ADHD symptoms were reported by the mother in 5-year-olds and inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity in 8-year-olds.

The scientists observed that prematurity was linked to an increase in ADHD symptoms in preschool children, and early premature delivery was associated with inattentive but non-hyperactive symptoms in 8-year-olds. This link was more marked among girls.

Emy Torres

Emy holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and currently freelances part-time for The Talking Democrat.