Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is much more well known of a pathology compared to 20 years ago. It is undoubtedly because there is more known about it today, so it’s easier to identify a child with high energy from a child with a behavior disorder such as ADHD.
What are the main causes of ADHD? While they largely remain unknown, several probable causes have been identified.
According to researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, a division of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, there may be a connection with prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and a child’s preschool and school-aged development, in particular their chances of having ADHD. PBDEs are a class of flame retardant chemicals that reduce the rate of combustion and how fire disperses. These chemicals have the potential to act as endocrine disruptors when inhaled or eaten by humans. They pass through breast milk and into an unborn child. This was not the first study done regarding PBDE exposure and its correlation to the most common symptoms of ADHD such as hyperactivity, inattention and impulsiveness. Lead could also be a culprit. When preschoolers are exposed to a high amount of lead, their risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is greater
Genetics may also play a role in ADHD as tudies conducted on twins show that ADHD tends to run in families. Researchers are still working on which genes are the ones that could cause Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. One study identified a connection between ADHD and a thinner brain tissue, a part of the brain where attention functions are. As the patient gets older, the thickness of the tissue changes, while the symptoms decrease. Additionally, researchers studied genetic duplications and deletions. The copy number various, also known as CNVs, were higher in people who had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Environmental factors may play a role in ADHD too. Studies show a possible connection between substance abuse (and smoking) during pregnancy, and hyperactivity and attention issues. Although it’s not common, a person with ADHD may have had a brain injury at birth or sometime after. A premature birth or low birth weight has the potential to increase a person’s risk of ADHD.
As time goes by, more studies will be done on patients with ADHD until more exact causes are known, which can assist in finding a cure and better prevention techniques.