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A study has shown that infants who suffer oxygen deprivation in the womb have an increased risk of developing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their childhood.
The study, published in Pediatrics, included reviewing the records of 82,000 children, ages 5 to 11, in order to identify how many had experienced oxygen deprivation.
According to CNN, children who had less oxygen were 16% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD later in their childhood.
Dr. Darios Getahun, the lead author of the study, believes that knowing this information will help doctors to better assess and monitor the needs of children with ADHD.
“The study leads us to suggest that those children that are exposed, they are at risk. And it’s important to closely monitor these children as early diagnosis and treatment is most important,” she said.
The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly 5.2 million children between ages 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Both boys and girls are affected, but boys are much more common.
The highest risk was for infants who had experienced neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, followed by children whose mothers had high blood pressure during pregnancy, and finally, those who experienced birth asphyxia, or not receiving enough oxygen at birth.
If the birth was preterm, risk was even more increased.