Adults with ADHD are at increased risk for developing dementia

Oct. 19, 2023
Rutgers researcher explores ADHD’s link to dementia and if risks can be mitigated with ADHD treatment.

Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are nearly three times more likely to develop dementia than adults without ADHD, according to a Rutgers study. 

The study, coauthored by Michal Schnaider Beeri, director of the Herbert and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Alzheimer’s Research Center at Rutgers Brain Health Institute (BHI) was published in JAMA Network Open. It followed more than 100,000 older adults in Israel over 17 years to examine if adults with ADHD are at increased risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. 

Using data from a national cohort study of more than 100,000 people who were followed from 2003 to 2020, researchers analyzed those with and without ADHD and the occurrence of dementia among the groups as they aged. Researchers found the presence of adult ADHD was associated with a significantly higher risk of dementia even when other risk factors for dementia were taken into account, such as cardiovascular conditions. 

ADHD in adults may materialize as a neurological process that reduces the ability for them to compensate for the effects of cognitive decline later in life, researchers said. 

Additionally, the research suggests ADHD treatment incorporating psychostimulants may help reduce the risk of dementia in adults with ADHD as psychostimulants are known to modify the trajectory of cognitive impairment. But researchers said future studies should examine in more detail the impact of medications in patients with ADHD and how they could affect risk. 

Rutgers release on Newswise