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U. study identifies link between ADHD, dementia

Michal Schnaider Beeri, director of the Herbert and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinical Research and Treatment Center at Rutgers Brain Health Institute, authored a study that found an association between adult ADHD and dementia. – Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels

In a recent Rutgers study, researchers found a heightened risk of dementia in adults diagnosed with ADHD.

Michal Schnaider Beeri, director of the Herbert and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Alzheimer's and Dementia Clinical Research and Treatment Center at the Rutgers Brain Health Institute and an author of this study, said that the two conditions are related. Still, more research is required to solidify the connection between them.

"The conclusion (of the study) was that there was an association between a midlife ADHD diagnosis and late-life dementia risk," Beeri said. "ADHD is a condition of the brain that does lead to cognitive impairment … There is a likelihood that it will be related to later life cognitive decline."

To further her research, Beeri said she will be studying the children of Alzheimer's patients at the aforementioned center, and one of the questions on the research questionnaire will be about ADHD.

Beeri said the observational study was conducted using statistical methods from de-identified data of approximately 100,000 adults diagnosed with ADHD.

She said the study also found that ADHD medication contributes to a reduced link between ADHD and late-life dementia. Beeri said future research into ADHD medication would need to confirm this finding.

She added that doctors normally do not prescribe ADHD medication for older adults due to a potential increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Because dementia is a condition that is typically associated with ages past 60, younger individuals should not be paranoid about developing the condition solely because they have ADHD.

Instead, they should seek out clinical care if they experience cognitive impairment to determine whether lifestyle changes or medications may be appropriate.

"There are specific populations that might be at increased risk of dementia, and those populations should not be anxious … but rather be attentive," Beeri said.

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