Finland: smoking in pregnancy risks ADHD in children

11 April 2019

Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have children who develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a study suggests.

The higher the level of nicotine in a pregnant woman’s blood, the greater her child’s risk of later being diagnosed with ADHD, according to a study in Pediatrics.

While not the first study to find an association between ADHD and exposure to nicotine in utero, it is the first based on measurements of cotinine – a biomarker indicating nicotine exposure – in the mothers’ blood.

Researchers at the University of Turku found that mothers of children with an ADHD diagnosis had a mean blood cotinine level more than double that ofthe mothers of the control children.

Cotinine was associated with increased risk of ADHD even after taking into account socioeconomic status, maternal age, mental illnesses and birthweight.

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