ADHD Update, August 4, 2011

An update on the latest news in ADHD research.

Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder—combined type (ADHD-C) seem to display appropriate curbside pedestrian behavior, but fail to process perceived information adequately to permit crossing safely, new research has found.

Unintentional injury is the leading cause of pediatric mortality, and one leading cause of unintentional injury is pedestrian injury. Children with developmental disabilities, particularly those with ADHD-C seem to have increased pedestrian injury risk, according to the researcher, who were led by Despina Stavrinos, PhD, of the University Transportation Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“This study examined (1) the differences in pedestrian behavior between children with ADHD-C and normally developing comparison children and (2) the mediating factors that might link ADHD-C with pedestrian injury risk,” the authors wrote in the abstract of the study, which was published in Pediatrics.

A total of 78 children aged seven to 10, 39 with ADHD-C diagnoses and 39 age- and gender-matched typically developing children, participated. The main outcome measure was pedestrian behavior, as measured in a semi-immersive, interactive, virtual pedestrian environment.

Key pedestrian variables related to different aspects of the crossing process were identified: (1) before the cross (i.e., evaluating aspects of the crossing environment); (2) making the cross (i.e., deciding to cross and initiating movement); and (3) safety of the cross (i.e., safety within the pedestrian environment after the decision to cross was made).

The researchers found that children with ADHD-C chose riskier pedestrian environments to cross within (F1,72 = 4.83; P<.05); no significant differences emerged in other aspects of the crossing process. “Executive function played a mediating role in the relationship between ADHD-C and the safety of the cross,” the researchers concluded.

Researchers Investigate Link Between ADHD, Household Chemicals

An Australian research program will explore how common childhood diseases such as ADHD, asthma, and obesity could be linked to household chemicals and air-borne particles, according to a statement from the University of Queensland (UQ).

UQ, in partnership with The Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute, will launch the Children’s Health and Environment Program (CHEP) at the inaugural CHEP conference being held in Brisbane the week of August 5-7.

Peter Sly, PhD, CHEP’s director, said the program would enable researchers to provide a coordinated and focused approach to environmental health issues in a way not seen before in Australia.

“Most people think our environment is of a reasonable standard. They might know about air pollution, but don’t think beyond that,” Sly said. “The reality is there are many substances within our everyday environment that could be very damaging to the health of children. In fact, the World Health Organization believes 25% of the burden of disease is related to environmental exposures.”

At the upcoming conference, some of the world’s most esteemed children’s health and population health experts will discuss new research on environmental toxicity in children, the effects exposures are having on structural DNA, as well as environmental exposures in the Asia Pacific Region.


Mediating Factors Associated With Pedestrian Injury in Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder [Pediatrics]

Brisbane researchers to lead study into childhood diseases