A recent study shows a disturbing trend among teens that smoke; a habit that will have long-term effects for them as well as their children. Paternal smoking during conception further increases risk, a pre-clinical finding has discovered.
However, when looking from the genetic angle, it is not clear if genetics play an important role regarding ADHD in children whose fathers have been diagnosed.
There is also evidence that being regularly exposed to nicotine increases the risk of hyperactivity in new-borns,prompting researchers to further investigate other factors that may impact the diagnosis of ADHD in individuals, says Joseph Biederman, MD, chief of Clinical and Research Programs in Paediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD, Harvard Medical School and colleagues in Boston, Massachusetts.
Biederman and colleagues further said, “These findings suggested that nicotine exposure may adversely impact germ lines, supporting a novel hypothesis for the propagation of environmentally induced ADHD phenotypes in the population that includes paternal smoking during conception.”
The investigators checked the data from the study of girls who were diagnosed with ADHD, as well as the others who did not have ADHD. This was carried out to assess the possible association and to establish a link between paternal smoking and ADHD. As many as 121 girls who had a diagnosis of ADHD and another 105 without ADHD were identified for the study. It should be noted that all the girls who were included in the study had fathers who reported smoking at least one pack of cigarettes every day.
Both the groups enjoyed socioeconomic status and were in a similar age range.
The results showed that 35% of the girls were exposed to parental smoking and were diagnosed with ADHD in comparison to 23% without ADHD diagnosis. Investigators arrived at a ratio of 1.5 to parental smoking.
Biederman and his colleagues still have hopes regarding the feasibility of the study, and will further investigate by going through larger groups of children and including both genders. The group hopes to spread more awareness among the public regarding risk factors arising out of maternal smoking, which increases the risk exponentially during pregnancy.
Fathers who smoke in groups were more inclined to be diagnosed with ADHD, if studies documented in earlier research are to be taken into account. The group further highlights the link between nicotine and dopamine functions that tend to be associated with smoking addiction and ADHD.
“Clearly, more work is needed to disentangle the environmental effects of paternal smoking at conception from genetic contributions,” Biederman and colleagues expressed.