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Head injuries "not ADHD cause"

Early childhood injuries may indicate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to research.

Researchers, writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), looked at a number of children who had previously suffered injuries to the head.

While head injuries were found not to cause ADHD, they may be an early sign as children who go on to develop ADHD take more risks as youngsters and are therefore more likely to suffer accidents and injuries.

Children with ADHD display behavioural problems such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Common symptoms include a short attention span, restlessness, being easily distracted and constant fidgeting.

ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder in the UK and is estimated to affect between 3% and 9% of school-age children and young people.

For the latest study, experts from the US analysed data from 62,088 UK children, of which 2,782 (4.5%) had a head injury and 1,116 (1.8%) had a burn injury.

They were trying to discover if suffering an injury as a child could lead to the development of ADHD. But they found no evidence of a direct link between the two.

The experts concluded: "We find it plausible that children who go on to develop clinical ADHD exhibit more risk taking behaviours as young children, and are therefore more likely to be injured before age two."

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