Early school sports reduce ADHD symptoms for girls in later years

Girls who played after-school sports in elementary school seem to have fewer symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder once they reach middle school, a new study suggests.

The research included both boys and girls, but the effect of sports on attention and behavior symptoms was only significant in girls.

“Girls, in particular, benefit from participation in sport when it comes to ADHD symptoms,” said lead author Linda Pagani. She’s a professor at the University of Montreal School of Psychoeducation in Quebec, Canada.

ADHD is a condition that includes ongoing patterns of inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity — issues that interfere with a person’s functioning or development, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

ADHD signs and symptoms include: Making careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work or during other activities; having difficulty paying attention in tasks like a lecture or lengthy reading assignment or during play; seeming not to listen when spoken to directly; interrupting others; fidgeting; leaving one’s seat when staying seated is expected; running around in inappropriate situations or feeling restless, in teens and adults.

The current study included nearly 1,500 children born in Quebec in 1997 and 1998. The group included 758 girls and 733 boys with complete data from age 6.

Parents were asked if kids participated in an extra-curricular physical activity with a coach or instructor between the ages of 6 and 10.

When kids were 12, teachers were asked to compare their ADHD symptoms and behaviors to their peers’. Teachers only looked for symptoms suggestive of ADHD, not a formal diagnosis, Pagani said.

Girls who consistently participated in organized sports were less likely to have ADHD symptoms than girls who didn’t, the study found. The researchers didn’t find a similar link for boys.

Pagani said organized sports likely help reduce ADHD symptoms in several ways: During an organized physical activity, kids have to listen and focus on what their coach is saying. It’s different from an unstructured after-school program where kids can do whatever they want.

Sports also help inhibit distraction and promote planning behavior, Pagani explained. Plus, sports get kids away from their screens and switching from one app to the next, and give them a chance to shake off some energy.

So, why wouldn’t sports make a difference for boys, too?

They probably do, Pagani said, but the upside wasn’t strong enough to be statistically significant.

“Boys are over-identified when it comes to any kind of ADHD symptoms,” she said. “For every three boys with ADHD, only one girl will get identified. Girls may not be getting pharmacology [medications] and psychotherapy that boys often do. In this particular domain, because girls are under-identified and under-treated, they tend to benefit a lot from sports.”

All kids — both girls and boys — can benefit from taking part in organized sports, Pagani said.

Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., reviewed the findings.

“Although the researchers found an association in girls between organized sports

Money Worries Raise Suicide Risk in People With ADHD: Study | Health News

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

MONDAY, Oct. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) — There’s a link between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), financial stress and suicide risk, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data on ADHD and suicide in Sweden from 2002 to 2015, as well as credit and default data from a random sample of more than 189,000 Swedish adults for the same period.

Before age 30, people with ADHD had only a slightly higher demand for credit than others. But demand among people with ADHD continued to grow with age, while demand for credit fell among others.

“Because they are in financial distress, those with ADHD keep asking for more credit and not getting it,” said study co-author Itzhak Ben-David, a professor of finance at Ohio State University.

“The result is that their financial problems just keep getting worse and worse through adulthood,” he said in a university news release.

Adults with ADHD were more than four times more likely than the general population to have bank overdrafts, impounded property and unpaid alimony, educational support or road taxes. By age 40, their default risk peaked at more than six times that of the general population.

As in previous research, this study found that people with ADHD were more likely than others to die by suicide.

But it also found that adults with ADHD who were at the highest risk of default were about four times more likely to die of suicide than those with ADHD who were at low risk of default and people without ADHD who had poor credit.

Among men with ADHD, the frequency of unpaid debts increased significantly in the three years prior to suicide, according to findings published Sept. 30 in the journal Science Advances.

“There is more financial chaos in the lives of men with ADHD in the years immediately preceding suicide,” said study co-author Marieke Bos, deputy director of the Swedish House of Finance at the Stockholm School of Economics.

The findings highlight the significant role that financial problems play in suicide risk among people with ADHD, according to the researchers.

“Our modern life is built on paying bills on time and making rent and mortgage payments. These tasks are more difficult for people with ADHD and it takes a toll,” Ben-David said.

Co-author Theodore Beauchine, a professor of psychology at Ohio State, said more attention should be given to financial difficulties facing people with ADHD.

“The impulsivity found in ADHD is predisposing to suicide. And if you have a lifetime of financial problems, that can lead to a sense of hopelessness,” he said in the release. “Hopelessness combined with impulsivity is a really bad combination and may increase the risk of suicide.”

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on ADHD.

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