Epidemiological studies estimate the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults at 2.5-4.9%. This disorder is characterized by inattention and impulsivity associated with problems concentrating on a task, especially for long periods of time, as well as difficulty managing time.
For its part, Alzheimer’s disease results from slow degeneration of nerve cells. The disease is characterized by recent memory impairment, and problems with orientation in time and place. Its prevalence is 5-7% of people over 65 years of age worldwide.
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Although no association between the two diseases has been proven, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden) sought to see if the two diseases could be linked across generations. So they tracked a cohort of more than two million patients born between 1980 and 2001 as well as their biological relatives (parents, grandparents, and uncles/aunts).
The findings suggest that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and all forms of dementia across generations. But this bond is more important with parents, and it declines with distance of genetic kinship (grandparents, uncles and aunts).
Additionally, the researchers discovered that this familial risk is more common for early forms of Alzheimer’s disease than for late-onset disease.
This study does not highlight any genetic similarity between the two diseases, but the researchers pave the way for future research into the underlying risk factors that contribute to both ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers concluded: “Our study draws attention to advances in understanding ADHD and cognitive decline in the elderly and, if verified, requires a study of ADHD treatment to prevent or delay the development of neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly. People with ADHD and their families.