Sunday , March 7 2021

In some countries, this month of birth is associated with a higher rate of ADHD diagnosis, says the study

The study looked at 407,846 American children born between 2007 and 2009 to see how much the diagnosis of ADHD occurred in relation to the child's birthday.

The researchers found that there was more diagnosis for children born in August, and then concluded that this is true only in countries that have a breakthrough on September 1 to start a kindergarten, according to Timothy Layton, the lead author of the study. This means that children born in August will be among the youngest in their classrooms, sometimes nearly a year younger than other conferences.

"We saw nothing in a few months from August to September, when we saw this big difference," said Layton, a health policy professor at Harvard Medical School. "We saw that it was only in countries that had had their absence on September 1, in countries that did not have anything."

According to the Education Commission, the state, used by researchers as a source, has 21 states with this interruption date, including Texas, Arizona, and Illinois. The remaining 29 countries and the District of Columbia have a number of entry dates for enrollment, including December 2 in California and January 1 in Vermont.

Layton and his co-authors found that the rate of children with birthdays in August diagnosed with ADHD was 34% higher than those born in September. Among children born in August, 85.1 children per 10,000 had ADHD diagnoses, compared to just 63.6 per 10 000 births in September.

Children born in August also had a 32% higher rate of treatment than those born in September.

ADHD or deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include attention problems, excessively active and problems that control impulsive behavior.
10% of American children diagnosed with ADHD are in the study
In 2016, about 9.4% of American children – 6.1 million – between 2 and 17 years old were diagnosed with ADHD at one point in their life, CDC said. About 3.3 million of these children were 12 to 17 years old, 2.4 million were 6 to 11, and 388,000 from 2 to 5, according to the CDC.

Some symptoms are normal behavior for children, but those with ADHD may not overcome. Symptoms can be serious and can cause difficulties at school, at home or with friends, said the CDC.

Children who are younger in their peers, such as those with a birthday in August at a school on September 1, could be diagnosed with ADHD, said Layton, since certain childhood behaviors may be in line with to those used for diagnosis.

"In essence, normal childhood behaviors are diagnosed as ADHD and they are treated for it, although they are just normal children. They are only younger than their peers, so they behave a little differently," he said.

ADHD signs may be different for girls
Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Children's Health, Behavior and Development at the Children's Research Institute in Seattle, wrote in an e-mail: "This study confirms to a greater extent what other studies have shown on a smaller one, there are developmental confusions in the diagnosis of the condition and that the relative immaturity of the baby's brain can make those who are only younger when entering school show behavior in accordance with ADHD. " Christakis was not involved in the research.
Joel Nigg, a professor of psychiatry and neuropsychiatry at the University of Health and Science Oregon, said monitoring the diagnosis through the insurance database enabled researchers to see what doctors do, which may be more accurate than relying on parents' reports on their child's diagnosis .

But that can be a weakness, he said, in that "we do not know how clinicians actually do the diagnosis, how well they follow the protocols," which could leave room for "diagnostic bias against age".

Although it is unlikely to lead to a major change in results, Nigg and other researchers also noted that the authors of the study did not determine whether the children were actually enrolled in school.

Even with these limitations, Nigg believes that the study is valuable when considering ADHD diagnoses.

"It is really useful to continue to observe what we can call sociological drivers of diagnosis. It really helps to solve real cases where a child actually has a problem to be treated, in relation to some kind of indirect cases that can be normal development that just looks bad because of the situation in to whom the child is, "he said.

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