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Thursday, November 21, 2013

ADHD: Let the Sunshine In

From Smart Kids with LD

November 11, 2013

Is there a correlation between sunny climates and ADHD?

According to a new study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, ADHD is less prevalent in areas of greater solar intensity. Why this is the case remains a mystery.

As Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry noted, “The reported association is intriguing, but it raises many questions that have no answers: Do sunny climates reduce the severity or prevalence of ADHD, and if so, how? Do people prone to ADHD tend to move away from sunny climates, and if so, why?”

The study, done by Dutch researchers from Utrecht University, analyzed data from 10 countries, including the U.S., looking at the relationship between sunlight intensity and the occurrence of ADHD, autism and depressive disorders. Their findings indicated no correlation between sunny climes and autism or depressive disorders.

However, for ADHD, the team found that areas with the highest sunlight intensity had the lowest number of ADHD cases. The results suggest that sunlight may be a protective factor with regard to the development of ADHD.

While the research team warns against reading too much into this preliminary study, lead author Martijn Arms suggested the possibility that these findings could lead to possible prevention strategies for some: “These results could point the way to prevention of a sub-group of ADHD, by increasing the exposure to natural light during the day in countries and states with low solar intensity,” said Arms.

“For example, skylights in classrooms and scheduling playtime in line with the biological clock could be explored further.”

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