Children with epilepsy and febrile seizures have a higher risk of developing attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study published in the scientific journal Pediatrics.This finding suggests that the parents of children with epilepsy or febrile seizures should be told to be vigilant about ADHD symptoms and pay close attention to academic performance, a factor easily influenced by ADHD. It also indicates that paediatricians should monitor all children with epilepsy or febrile seizures for ADHD. These measures will allow ADHD to be identified early and hopefully treated before symptoms develop further.In a press release, Dr Josiane LaJoie, a paediatric neurologist at New-York University Langone Comprehensive Medical Center (who wasn’t involved this particular research), said: “It is vital that, when caring for a child with epilepsy, some of the medical visit involves attention to academic achievement and psychosocial functioning.”During the study, a team from Aarhus University, in Denmark, alongside colleagues in Norway, collated medical data from more than 900,000 people born in Denmark between 1990 and 2007, for between five and 22 years (up to 2012). Approximately 13,500 (1.5%) were diagnosed with epilepsy and almost 34,000 (3.8%) experienced febrile seizures. More than 21,000 (2.3%) developed ADHD in this time period.The researchers found that children with epilepsy were almost three times as likely to develop ADHD than those without epilepsy. The risk of developing ADHD was also approximately 20% to 35% higher in children with febrile seizures compared to children without.The analysis took into account other risk factors that may have contributed to the development, such as socioeconomic status, low birth weight and a family history of epilepsy, febrile seizures or psychiatric disorders.These results are striking, however the researchers were not able to show that epilepsy and febrile seizures actually caused ADHD in these people.Previous studies have shown similar associations between epilepsy and febrile seizures, but the current one analysed a much larger number of subjects, over a longer period of time.Epilepsy, febrile seizures, and ADHD are all conditions of the central nervous system. It is therefore not surprising that there is a link between them. All three conditions may share common genetic and environmental risk factors that may explain these associations, but further research is needed to confirm this.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.