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Younger relative age linked to ADHD diagnosis

October 20, 2017

Children with a younger relative age were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD in a health service system with low prescribing rates for ADHD.

“More recently, interest has been growing in the contributory role of young relative age within the school year towards the diagnosis of ADHD. This work is important because of the potential implications for diagnostic practice and educational advice and policies,” Kapil Sayal, PhD, of University of Nottingham, U.K., and colleagues wrote. “In particular, findings of epidemiological studies from countries such as Canada, Iceland, Israel, and the U.S. — where prescribing rates for ADHD are fairly high — have shown a relative age effect, whereby younger children in a school year are more likely to be diagnosed with and treated for ADHD than are their older peers in the same school year. These findings have led to concerns that ADHD might be overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed in these countries.”

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