Someone with symptoms like aggression, excitability, impulsivity, absent-mindedness, difficulty focusing, anxiety, boredom, and/or mood swings seems like they could be diagnosed as being a parent. But when the someone in question is your kid, teachers, medical professionals, and maybe even you are surprisingly likely to diagnose them with ADHD. Though the Centers For Disease Control estimates that 11 percent of children between 4 and 17 years old have ADHD, according to a new study in The Journal of Pediatrics, their real diagnosis might just be “born a bit too early.”
Researchers in Taiwan looked at data from 378,881 children ages 4 to 17 and compared students born in August, the cutoff month for schools there, to students born in September. For primary and preschool students, the incidences of ADHD went up for the youngest kids in class, with 4.5 percent of boys in August up from 2.8 percent in September, and 1.2 percent of girls up from .7 percent in September. An earlier study in the United States similarly found that about 8.4 percent of kids born the month before their state’s cutoff date have an ADHD diagnosis, compared to 5.1 percent born the month after. The immediate takeaway? Try to conceive your kid in December instead of November.
Or not. The Taiwan study didn’t find a similar disparity in ADHD diagnosis among adolescents, which suggests that kids can close the ADHD-like gap with their peers, given the time. Lead author Dr Mu-Hong Chen recommends considering the relative age of the child compared to the rest of the students in the class when diagnosing and prescribing medication for ADHD. If they’re notably younger than their peers, all the Adderall in the world isn’t going to build them a time machine, despite the fact that Doc Brown seems like he takes a ton of it.
[H/T] New York Times