Maternal diabetes linked to a slight increase in ADHD risk in children


In a current research revealed within the journal Nature Medicine, researchers evaluated associations between maternal diabetes mellitus (MDM) and the chance of attention-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD) within the offspring.

Sixteen p.c of pregnant people expertise hyperglycemia worldwide. The prevalence of MDM has elevated globally, which is related to the advancing maternal age, the rising weight problems epidemic, and improved MDM diagnostic approaches. Animal research have proven the antagonistic results of hyperglycemia in being pregnant on intrauterine oxidative stress, inflammatory response, and epigenetic mechanisms, which could result in poor neurodevelopment within the offspring.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental dysfunction characterised by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness. Globally, 2% to 7% of youngsters are affected by ADHD. In addition to, ADHD can have a considerable burden on households of affected people and society. Proof means that gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and pre-GDM (PGDM) are related to ADHD. A meta-analysis revealed that the offspring of diabetic moms had a 40% elevated danger of ADHD.

Examine: Maternal diabetes and risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in offspring in a multinational cohort of 3.6 million mother–child pairs. Picture Credit score: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

Concerning the research

Within the current research, researchers assessed the affiliation between MDM and ADHD danger within the offspring. This population-based cohort research used healthcare knowledge from New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Nordic nations (Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Finland). The research included kids from stay births inside site-specific durations. Mom-child pairs had been linked utilizing precise deterministic linkage.

Youngsters with out full beginning data, six years of follow-up, and legitimate linkage had been excluded. Comply with-up commenced at beginning and continued till end result incidence, dying, or finish of research interval. The first publicity was MDM, together with PGDM and GDM. MDM was stratified into (unmedicated and medicated) GDM and (sorts 1 and a couple of) PGDM.

ADHD was outlined utilizing site-specific prognosis and medicine codes. The first analyses in contrast ADHD standing in kids born to moms with any kind of diabetes with these born to non-diabetic moms. Sibling-matched analyses in contrast the ADHD standing in kids of the identical mom however with discordant GDM standing.

In secondary analyses, ADHD standing was in contrast between kids born to moms with totally different subtypes of diabetes. The researchers computed hazard ratios of common remedy impact and 95% confidence intervals to look at associations between MDM standing and ADHD utilizing Cox proportional hazard regression fashions.

Covariates included demographic elements, socioeconomic standing, beginning 12 months, multifetal pregnancies, physique mass index (BMI), use of psychotropic medicine, alcohol and smoking standing, neurologic and psychiatric circumstances, and different power circumstances. A number of sensitivity analyses had been additionally carried out to judge the robustness and validity of the findings.


The research included greater than 3.6 million mother-child pairs. About 6.6%, 8%, 4.1%, and 13.7% of youngsters had moms with diabetes within the Nordic nations, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Taiwan, respectively. ADHD danger was larger amongst kids whose moms had any kind of diabetes than in these born to non-diabetic moms. ADHD danger was larger in kids born to moms with PGDM, kind 1 PGDM, kind 2 PGDM, or GDM in comparison with these born to non-diabetic moms.

Sibling-matched analyses didn’t discover differential dangers of ADHD. ADHD danger was comparable amongst kids whose moms had been recognized with GDM at totally different trimesters in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, ADHD danger was the best in kids whose moms had GDM prognosis within the first trimester in New Zealand and Taiwan. Additional, kids whose moms had GDM might need a decrease ADHD danger than these born to moms with PGDM.

ADHD dangers didn’t differ between kids born to moms with kind 1 and sort 2 PGDM. Youngsters whose moms had GDM and obtained anti-diabetic medicines had an analogous danger of ADHD in comparison with these born to moms with GDM who had been unmedicated. Sensitivity analyses produced comparable outcomes as main analyses.


In sum, the findings revealed that MDM, PGDM, and GDM had been related to a small/reasonable danger of ADHD within the offspring. ADHD dangers didn’t differ between siblings with discordant GDM standing in being pregnant, suggesting potential confounding by unmeasured, shared familial or genetic elements. Furthermore, ADHD danger estimates had been smaller in comparison with a earlier meta-analysis. Future research ought to reevaluate the precise roles of hyperglycemia and genetic elements within the relationship between MDM and ADHD.

Journal reference:

  • Chan AYL, Gao L, Hsieh MHC, et al. Maternal diabetes and danger of attention-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction in offspring in a multinational cohort of three.6 million mom–youngster pairs. Nat Med, 2024, DOI: 10.1038/s41591-024-02917-8,
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