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Elevated rates of ADHD in mothers of children with comorbid ADHD and epilepsy

Author(s): Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, Hesham M Hamoda, Laura Luna, Sneha Rao, James McClendon, Peter Rotella, Deborah Waber, Katherine Boyer, Steven V Faraone, Jane Whitney, Danielle Guild, Joseph Biederman

Objectives: To describe the prevalence of ADHD in mothers of children with comorbid ADHD and epilepsy (ADHD+E) and to compare ADHD symptoms in mothers with (Fam+) and without (Fam-) additional relative(s) with epilepsy.

Patients & methods: Mothers (n = 16) of children with ADHD+E were assessed by the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Age Children ADHD module and the ADHD Rating Scale IV. Information was collected on the presence (Fam+) or absence (Fam-) of first- or second-degree relatives with epilepsy in the sample.

Results: A total of 50% of mothers met the DSM-IV criteria for ADHD. ADHD was more prevalent in Fam+ mothers (80%) compared with Fam- mothers (36%; p = 0.14). Fam+ mothers had more current hyperactivity symptoms than Fam- mothers (p = 0.002), higher current ADHD severity (p = 0.02) and higher ADHD Rating Scale IV hyperactivity scores (p = 0.008).

Conclusion: The prevalence of ADHD in mothers of children with ADHD+E is elevated in this pilot study, suggesting that ADHD symptoms in children with epilepsy and their mothers reflects shared familial genetic or environmental risks, potentially resulting in a higher prevalence of both disorders among family members. This is a pilot study and larger controlled studies are warranted.


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