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August-born children receive ADHD diagnoses more than September-born children

Children who fill 5 just before starting kindergarten are much more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit / hyperactivity…

Children who fill 5 just before starting kindergarten are much more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder than their oldest classmates. As a result, the common neurodevelopmental disorder can be overdiagnosed.

“We believe that it is the relative age and relative maturity of the age-old in a certain class that increases the likelihood of being diagnosed as with ADHD,” says Anupam Jena, a physician and economist at Harvard Medical School.

Jena and his colleagues analyzed insurance data for over 407,000 children born 2007 to 2009. In states that require the children to be 5 years old in September 1 to start kindergarten, born in August, 34 percent were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than those born almost a year earlier in September &#821

1; just after the cutoff date. For August, children diagnosed 85.1 per 10,000 children with ADHD, compared to 63.6 per 10,000 for the September child, the researchers report in Nov. 29 New England Journal of Medicine .

People with ADHD typically have symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that are difficult or dense to interfere with their daily lives. In 2011, 11 percent of US children aged 4 to 17 were reported to have an ADHD diagnosis, a higher rate than most other countries. Differences between states also suggest overdiagnosis, “says Jena,” unless there is anything so different about children in different states. ” For example, while almost 19 percent of 4- to 17-year-olds were apparently diagnosed in Kentucky, it was about 12 percent in nearby West Virginia.

“Greater recognition of ADHD is a good thing,” as the condition can lead to lower academic achievement, poor social skills and abuse, “said Stephen Hinshaw, a clinical and development psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, not involved in the study. But a brief office visit can lead to an incorrect diagnosis, he says, if other factors or conditions are not ruled out.

“Children mature at different rates,” says Hinshaw. Many childhood problems, from anxiety to coping with overcrowded classroom, can resemble ADHD.

“We do not want to overreact to inattention, lack of focus, impulsive behavior and large amounts of overactivity,” he says. “We need to understand the child’s other skills”.

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