Dementia: Could ADHD increase risk?

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
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Having ADHD may be linked to dementia risk, new research suggests. Yana Iskayeva/Getty Images
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adulthood may be associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to a new study.
  • There is some overlap in the symptoms of the condition and dementia, making their relationship less clear.
  • The study suggests further investigation of ADHD in adults, as well as its association with dementia.

Having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as an adult is associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to a new study.

After researchers adjusted for 18 possible confounding factors, they found that adults with ADHD have a 2.77-fold increased risk of dementia compared to people without ADHD.

The study is based on Health records for 109,218 members of a nonprofit Israeli Health maintenance organization, Meuhedet Healthcare Services. The participants were born between 1933 and 1952 and entered a prospective birth cohort study on January 1, 2003 — they were ages 51–70 years at that time. None had an ADHD or dementia diagnosis.

They were followed until February 28, 2020, during which time, 730 participants received a diagnosis of ADHD, and 7,726 a diagnosis of dementia.

The study also found that for people with ADHD who received psychostimulant medications prescribed for the condition, there was no increased risk of dementia. This suggests that treating ADHD may help lower the increased risk for dementia.

The study is published in JAMA Network Open.

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