April 6, 2022
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disease, characterized by the drastic reduction of dopamine transporters and the dopaminergic neurons upon which they are expressed. The resulting symptoms include bradykinesia (slowness of initiation of voluntary movements), tremors, rigidity, and postural instability.
Taiwan’s National Health Service covers about 99 percent of its 24 million inhabitants and maintains complete records in its National Health Insurance Research Database. The Longitudinal Health Insurance Database2000 (LHID 2000) is a nationally representative subset of the latter.
Using the LHID 2000, a Taiwanese research team identified 10,726 patients with Parkinson’s disease. It paired them with an identical number of randomly selected non-Parkinson’s controls, matched by age, gender, and index date (first date of diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease).
The team then looked retroactively through the database to determine which of the 21,452 individuals had previously been diagnosed with ADHD. Fourteen of the 10,726 Parkinson’s patients had been diagnosed with ADHD, versus five of the 10,726 in the control group.
Parkinson’s patients were thus 2.8 times as likely to have had a previous diagnosis of ADHD as the controls. When adjusted for age, gender, and Carlson Comorbidity Index scores, they were 3.6 times as likely to have had a previous ADHD diagnosis.
The authors cautioned that this association between prior ADHD diagnosis and subsequent Parkinson’s diagnosis is not causal.
Only one in 766 of Parkinson’s patients (a seventh of one percent) had previously been diagnosed with ADHD. So even if there were any causal relationship, it would be extremely weak.
Hui Wang, Fei Li, Maohua Miao, Yongfu Yu, Honglei Ji, HuiLiu, Rong Huang, Carsten Obel, Jun Zhang, and Jiong Li, “Maternal spontaneous abortion and the risk of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder in offspring: a population-based cohort study,” Human Reproduction(2020), vol. 35, no. 5, 1211-1221,https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deaa035.