Gestational Diabetes Mellitus and Low Socioeconomic Status Combined Augment the Risk for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Offspring

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Fetal brain development gets compromised due to prenatal stressors in humans as suggested by animal models [1]. And such early insults to the nervous system may lead to neurodevelopmental disorders in the individuals which may include autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia etc.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most studied psychiatric disorder in children. ADHD is basically a developmental disorder characterized by the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity [2] and known to manifest almost always before the age of 7 years [3] having primarily three subtypes; Predominantly inattentive, Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive and Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive [2].

Nomura Y and colleagues have found and association of ADHD with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus and Low Socioeconomic Status [4]. According to the authors maternal gestational diabetes may heighten the risk for ADHD in offspring when combined with low socio-economic status. Maternal diabetes mellitus alone, is not likely to increase the risk for ADHD significantly but combined with low socio-economic status drive the risk up to 2-fold.

It is well established that children to those mothers who experience gestational diabetes, show attention problems and altered motor functions early in their school life [5].

Although the mechanism explaining the association of ADHD with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus and Low Socioeconomic Status remains to be ill-established, all the healthcare professionals should be made aware of this possible link for the purpose of parent education.

Since ADHD has high heritable propensity, we should at least make efforts to preclude the involvement of these non-genetic environmental risk factors increasing the likelihood of ADHD.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READINGS:

1. Baier CJ, Katunar MR, Adrover E, Pallarés ME, Antonelli MC. Gestational Restraint Stress and the Developing Dopaminergic System: An Overview. Neurotox Res. 2012 Jan 4.  [PubMed]

2. Miller DJ, Derefinko KJ, Lynam DR, Milich R, Fillmore MT. Impulsivity and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder: Subtype Classification Using the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale. J Psychopathol Behav Assess. 2010 Sep;32(3):323-332.       [PubMed]

3. Mahone EM, Crocetti D, Ranta ME et al. A preliminary neuroimaging study of preschool children with ADHD. Clin Neuropsychol. 2011 Aug;25(6):1009-28.  [PubMed]

4. Nomura Y, Marks DJ, Grossman B et al. Exposure to Gestational Diabetes Mellitus and Low Socioeconomic Status: Effects on Neurocognitive Development and Risk of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Offspring. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Jan 2.   [PubMed]

5. Ornoy A, Ratzon N, Greenbaum C, Wolf A, Dulitzky M. School-age children born to diabetic mothers and to mothers with gestational diabetes exhibit a high rate of inattention and fine and gross motor impairment. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2001;14 Suppl 1:681-9.   [PubMed]

  • Kanungo

    Hi,

    I found your writing very
    interesting and informative. It is a general awareness for the pregnant woman
    to go for regular check-up. It will be very helpful for everyone and mostly I
    think for the pregnant lady. As the gestational diabetes affect the pregnant
    women and they should know the real fact how to maintain their health. I would
    like to know whether this disease will affect the baby or not and what is the
    ratio of not affecting/ transferring the disease to the baby?

    Hoping to read your valuable post in near
    future…!