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Environmental toxins and pollutants have hardly been investigated as triggers of ADHD.
(06/20/2010) Environmental toxins and pollutants as the cause of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) have so far hardly been investigated in the opinion of research assistant Ulf Sauerbrey. ADHD syndrome is now considered the most common mental health problem in childhood and adolescence worldwide. The number of affected children and adolescents in Germany in 2009 was around 500,000, with boys being affected about three times more often than girls.
Ulf Sauerbrey from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena has been pointing out this not insignificant connection for some time. One year ago, Sauerbrey wrote the scientific article "ADHD through environmental toxins?". In this article, Sauerbrey points out possible factors that could be related to ADHD. So-called lifestyle-related "noxes" such as smoking or passive smoking can play an important role. But also stay, pesticides, mercury, additives in food and manganese could be seen as possible triggers.
In an interview with the dpa news agency, the scientist pointed out that it was wrong not to consider these possible environmental factors in ADHD research. There are signs that pollutants are involved in the development of ADHD. Sauerbrey bases his assumption on the evaluation of around 50 studies that investigated the causes of the development of the mental disorder.
So far, research has focused on genetic factors and disturbed brain metabolism as possible main causes. The education of parents is always in focus. For Ulf Sauerbreyist, too little research has been done into the relationship between heavy metals such as lead and mercury as the cause of ADHD. Even today, minimal concentrations of lead can be found in water pipes, fittings and toys. According to Sauerbrey, even European toy manufacturers would repeatedly exceed the limit values for lead. In addition, mercury can be found in the dental filling material amalgam, further research is urgently needed here. The so-called plasticizers in plastic toys are also critical. Substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls are used here time and again. Polychlorinated biphenyls are not only considered carcinogenic but also endanger the brain metabolism.
In contrast, the administration of so-called ADHD medicines has increased continuously. Medicines such as Ritalin, Equasym, Concerta and Medikinet are prescribed more and more by doctors. According to a DAK study, the administration of such drugs increased by 4.1 percent compared to the previous year. Last year, the Kaufmännchen Krankenkasse (KKH) announced a 50 percent increase in the diagnosis of ADHD from 2004-2007 as a result of a study. It is all the more urgent to examine possible environmental pollution in toys, plastic bottles and water pipes. (sb)