n Journal of Child & Adolescent Mental Health - Iron deficiency in South African children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Volume 31 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1728-0583
  • E-ISSN: 1728-0591
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Objective: Iron deficiency may play a role in the pathophysiology of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by causing dopamine dysfunction, but there is conflicting evidence in the literature regarding this relationship. This study investigates the possible correlation between iron deficiency and ADHD in children and adolescents attending a South African child and adolescent psychiatry outpatient service.

Method: In this retrospective study, we gathered data from 245 outpatient children and adolescents who had their serum ferritin and/or iron levels tested between February 2011 and January 2016. Relevant statistical methods were used to test for correlations between ADHD and various demographic and clinical factors, including iron deficiency.

Results: Out of 245 patients, 88 (35.9%) had iron deficiency, 156 (63.7%) had ADHD and 55 (22.4%) had both iron deficiency and ADHD. Variables found to be significantly correlated with ADHD included gender, age, and methylphenidate treatment, but there was no significant correlation between ADHD and iron deficiency.

Conclusions: Our study emphasizes the great complexity involved in understanding ADHD. Comparisons between mentally-ill paediatric patients and matched healthy controls from the same communities are required to further explore the possible association between iron deficiency and ADHD.

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