Children who start school a year earlier are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD

Children born in August who start school in places with an enrollment deadline on September 1, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, may be more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

It is what a new study suggests in The New England Journal of Medicine. Specifically, the probability increases by 30 percent compared to their slightly older peers enrolled in the same grade.

Wrong diagnosis of TDHA

He attention deficit hyperactivity disorder o ADHD is a chronic neuropsychiatric development disorder frequently diagnosed in childhood and can persist into adulthood, characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

The rate of ADHD diagnoses among children has increased dramatically in the last 20 years. In 2016 alone, more than 5 percent of children in the United States were treated with ADHD medications. Experts believe that the increase is due to a combination of factors, which include greater recognition of the disorder, a true increase in the incidence of the disease and, in some cases, an inappropriate diagnosis.

The results of the new study underline the idea that, at least in a subset of elementary school students, diagnosis can be a factor of early enrollment in school, according to the research team. As Timothy Layton of the Blavatnik Institute of Harvard Medical School explains:

Our findings suggest the possibility that a large number of children receive an excessive diagnosis and excessive treatment for ADHD because they turn out to be relatively immature compared to their older classmates in the first years of primary school.

Using the records of a large insurance database, the researchers compared the difference in the diagnosis of ADHD by month of birth, August vs. September, between more than 407,000 children in primary schools born between 2007 and 2009, and who were followed up the end of 2015
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