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Medscape: Early Childhood Allergies Linked with ADHD and ASD

By Lorraine L. Janeczko

Young children with allergies may be more likely to develop attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the time they're 18, according to a large retrospective study.

"Our study provides strong evidence for the association between allergic disorders in early childhood and the development of ADHD," Shay Nemet, MD, of the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, Israel, and colleagues write in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. "The risk of those children to develop ASD was less significant."

The researchers analyzed data from 117,022 consecutive children diagnosed with at least one allergic disorder — asthma, conjunctivitis, rhinitis, drug, food, or skin allergy — and 116,968 children without allergies in the Clalit Health Services pediatric database. The children had been treated from 2000 to 2018; the mean follow-up period was 11 years.

Cy B. Nadler, PhD, a clinical psychologist and the director of Autism Services at Children's Mercy Kansas City, in Missouri, told Medscape Medical News that children and adults with neurodevelopmental differences are also more likely to have other health problems.

"Clinicians practicing in subspecialties such as allergy and immunology may have opportunities to help psychologists identify developmental and behavioral concerns early in childhood," he added.

"Studies like this can't be accomplished without large healthcare databases, but this approach has drawbacks, too," Nadler said in an email. "Without more information about these patients' co-occurring medical and behavioral conditions, we are almost certainly missing important contributors to the observed associations."


Read the full article via Medscape

Children's Mercy Autism Center