According to a study from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, those who are born before 39 weeks are more likely to exhibit symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADHD, which affects more than 10% of school-age children in the United States, first appears in early childhood and is associated with hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention symptoms as well as preterm delivery (less than 37 weeks gestation). The investigation of the relationships between a diagnosis or symptoms of ADHD and term gestational age (37-41 weeks) is one of only a few studies that has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics. It is the first to have instructor reports.
According to Nancy Reichman, the study’s author and a professor of paediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, “Teachers’ comments, in addition to mother reports and physician evaluations, give crucial information for the diagnosis of ADHD.” “Mother-reported symptoms typically reflect behaviours in the home, in small families, or in social groups, whereas teacher-reported symptoms typically reflect behaviours in a structured educational setting by professionals who work with a large number of children and observe the range of behaviours that students exhibit in classrooms,” according to the study.
Geethanjali Linguasubramanian, a neonatology fellow at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was a member of Reichman’s team that tried to evaluate the correlations between gestational age at term and the symptoms of ADHD in 9-year-old students as reported by their teachers.
They examined information on roughly 1,400 kids from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing research, a birth cohort study conducted in the United States from 1998 to 2000. It randomly selected births in 75 hospitals in 20 major U.S. cities and re-interviewed moms over a nine-year period. The instructors of the children were asked to assess their students using the Conners’ Teacher Rating Scale-Revised Short Form, which includes signs of hyperactivity, ADHD, oppositional conduct, and cognitive issues or inattention, throughout the nine-year follow-up after obtaining the parents’ assent.
Overall, the Rutgers researchers discovered that children born early-term (37-38 weeks) had significantly higher scores on the teacher rating scales for hyperactivity, ADHD, and cognitive issues or inattention than children born full-term (39-41 weeks), but that gestational age was not significantly associated with these outcomes.
The researchers discovered that birth at 37 to 38 weeks was associated with 23 percent higher hyperactivity scores and 17 percent higher ADHD scores when compared to birth at 39 to 41 weeks, and that each week of gestational age at term was associated with 6 percent lower hyperactivity scores, 5 percent lower ADHD and cognitive problems or inattention scores.
The research, according to Reichman, “additionally supports mounting evidence that elective deliveries should be postponed to at least 39 weeks” and “suggests that regular checks for ADHD symptoms are necessary for children delivered at 37 to 38 weeks.”
Because of their undeveloped brain development, preterm babies are more likely to develop ADHD, according to the expert. Between 34 and 40 weeks of gestation, several types of brain cells exhibit significant growth and development, according to Reichman. “Infants born at full term certainly benefit from the extra one to two weeks of foetal brain growth compared to those born early-term.”