One would think that since epilepsy, febrile seizures, and ADHD all involve the central nervous system, there would be some kind of relationship between these three entities that ties them together. Bertelsen et al. (2015-4654) thought so as well and opted to follow a population-based Danish cohort for as little as five and as long as 22 years with ADHD as a diagnosis and then look back and see if there was an increased history of epilepsy or febrile seizures earlier in life. The authors reviewed more than 10 million person-years of observation and found that 21000+ developed ADHD.
The incidence rate ratio of ADHD with epilepsy compared to children without epilepsy was elevated and statistically significant. The same elevation in incidence rate ratio was also seen in children with febrile seizures although not as impressively. When you look at children with ADHD who had both epilepsy and febrile seizures, the ratio is at its highest compared to children who lack both. The findings hold even when confounders like perinatal and socioeconomic risk factors as well as family history are controlled for.
This is a well-done but a bit worrisome study that warrants your attention so that perhaps you can monitor children with febrile seizures or idiopathic epilepsy even more closely for ADHD. Have you found similar findings in your practice? Let us know by responding to this blog, sharing a comment with the article on our journal website or simply post a comment on our Facebook or Twitter websites.