New Study Links Lead to ADHD


A study published in Psychological Science and conducted by scientists OHSU.jpegat OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital has shown the first causal link between low levels of lead in blood (low BLLs) and an increase in ADHD symptoms. This increase in symptoms was shown at less than 10 micrograms per deciliter of lead in the blood, which is a common "safety level" for many states. "Because the C282Y gene helps to control the effects of lead in the body and the mutation was spread randomly in the children, the findings of our study are difficult to explain unless lead is, in fact, part of the cause of ADHD, not just an association," said Dr. Joel Nigg. 

The study showed a causal relationship between heightened ADHD symptoms and lead exposure in children with a specific gene, the HFE C282Y gene. This gene is present in about 10% of America's population, which is a significant number of children whose ADHD symptoms might be amplified by lead exposure. This increase was seen more strongly in males than in females, and was also seen in children without this specific gene, but not as consistently.  

The study does not claim that lead exposure means a child will have ADHD, nor does it claim that lead exposure is the only cause of ADHD. It provides evidence for a hypothesis that has been long held by many. It shows that lead exposure could potentially amplify a child's ADHD symptoms.  

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If you believe your child has been exposed to lead, please contact your healthcare provider.  Bookmark and Share

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