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Rambam Doctors Discover ADHD Can Be Relevant to Cognitive Decline

Publication Date: 8/5/2019 | by: Rambam

A scientific article written by Rambam Health Care Campus’ Cognitive Neurology Institute was recently the feature article in Harefuah ("Medicine"), the leading journal published by the Israeli Medical Association. The article addressed the topic of whether attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be considered in the diagnosis of cognitive complaints among middle-aged and older individuals.

Medical Consultation at the Cognitive Neurology unit

ambam Health Care Campus’ Cognitive Neurology Institute recently conducted a study to examine whether ADHD is relevant to the diagnosis of cognitive complaints in old age. This unit is a leader in diagnostic cognitive neurology, and the doctors involved in the study were neuropsychologist Dr. Tali Fisher, Dr. Rachel Ben-Hayun, Dr. Noga Adler, Dr. Yonit Tavor, and Professor Judith Aharon-Peretz.

Thirty-six subjects aged 50-70 years and diagnosed with probable ADHD participated in the study. Among these subjects were 12 individuals who had never been diagnosed with ADHD but showed lifelong symptoms and fulfilled ADHD criteria. They identified themselves as being in a state of either cognitive decline or memory impairment. The remaining 24 individuals showed no signs of recent cognitive decline, but showed signs of ADHD and were parents of children who had been diagnosed with ADHD.

“As people grow older, age-associated cognitive impairment and dementia increase in prevalence and are frequently diagnosed. Background medical conditions and risk factors are often seen as contributing to the decline, but until now, the contribution of prior undiagnosed ADHD was rarely considered. We wanted to ascertain whether or not there could be a connection,” explained the study’s authors.

The study’s results led the doctors to the conclusion that ADHD should be taken into consideration when individuals in this age group show a cognitive decline. “The recognition of ADHD as a specific entity should contribute to the ability to differentiate between diagnoses in order to appropriately tailor therapies,” said the study’s authors.