Causes of ADHD: Study Links Lead Exposure and Mother Smoking to ADHD

What causes ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? Contrary to popular thinking, it is not watching television. Recent studies reveal several possible causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: maternal smoking during pregnancy and exposure to lead.

For many years, the March of Dimes and other groups have warned against the effects of smoking on unborn children. Low birth weight, premature birth, and a list of birth defects that are identifiable at birth are listed as possible occurrences.

Studies within the last few years now site ADHD, which cannot be identified at birth, as also linked to pregnant women smoking.

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Another possible cause of ADHD is exposure to lead. Lead may be found in older painted surfaces, some toys from outside of the United States, contaminated soil, and water. If parents are unsure about whether or not lead is present in the soil or certain painted surfaces, they may wish to purchase a lead testing kit as sold in many discount and hardware stores.

Exposure to lead is a known health hazard, especially in the very young with developing neurological systems. Why do some children develop ADHD and other do not? As with many health disorders scientists are working to untangle the contributing factors. Current research suggests one of those factors may be DRD4-7. If dopamine receptor (DRD4-7) has a variation and a child is exposed to lead, that child may be more prone to ADHD.

How do you know if your child has ADHD? Certainly not all children with energy (who are more interested in what is happening around them than a school lesson) have ADHD.

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