Attention disorder linked to traumatic brain injury

Toronto, Aug 24 (IANS) A study has found links between traumatic brain injury and a history of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), suggesting that adults with a history of brain injuries may benefit from improved screening for the behavioural disorder.

Most of the persistent consequences of traumatic brain injury are symptoms shared with ADHD.

The study utilised data obtained from a telephone survey of the adult residents of Ontario, Canada.

“These new data suggest a significant association between ADHD and traumatic brain injury (TBI),” said co-principal investigator Robert Mann.

“Adults with TBI are more than twice as likely than those without to report symptoms of ADHD,” Mann said.

ADHD is a chronic behavioural disorder characterised by problems such as impulsive behaviour and difficulty with sustaining attention.

The condition typically begins in childhood and frequently continues into adulthood.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that by 2020 TBI could become the third largest source of disease and disability in the world, behind heart disease and depression.

Previous research has indicated that there may be a connection between ADHD and TBI experienced in childhood.

“This is not surprising because some of the most persistent consequences of TBI include ADHD-like symptoms, such as memory and attention impairment, deficits in executive functions such as planning and organisation, processing consonants and vowels and impulsive behaviour,” said lead author Gabriela Ilie from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

The researchers found that among participants with a history of TBI, 5.9 percent said they had previously been diagnosed with ADHD at some point during their life.

An additional 6.6 percent went on to screen positive for ADHD on the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale during their phone interviews.

The study was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

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