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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 11:1-9. doi: 10.1080/15622975.2017.1417636. [Epub ahead of print]

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is associated with reduced levels of serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in adolescents. Data from the population-based German KiGGS study.

Author information

1
a Department of Experimental Neurodegeneration, Centre for Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain , University Medical Centre Göttingen , Göttingen , Germany.
2
b Faculty of Medicine , University of Porto , Porto , Portugal.
3
c Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy , University Medical Centre Göttingen , Göttingen , Germany.
4
d Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine , Göttingen , Germany.
5
e Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy , University Medical Centre Göttingen, University of Göttingen, and German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) , Göttingen , Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a multifactorial, complex and the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in childhood. In this analysis, we tested the hypothesis that altered serum lipid patterns are associated with ADHD.

METHODS:

Using data from the nationwide, population-based German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS), we compared serum levels of total cholesterol, high-density (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and also triglycerides, in participants with physician-diagnosed and/or suspected ADHD, as defined by a value of ≥7 on the hyperactivity-inattention subscale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), with non-ADHD controls.

RESULTS:

Among 6,898 participants aged between 11 and 17 years, 666 (9.7%) had a physician-based diagnosis of ADHD and/or suspected ADHD. We found correlations between the parent-rated SDQ scores on the hyperactivity-inattention subscale and concentrations of triglycerides (r = 0.064, p < .001), total cholesterol (r = -0.026, p = .033), HDL cholesterol (r = -0.059, p < .001) and LDL cholesterol (r = -0.027, p = .031). In multivariate models, low serum levels of LDL cholesterol remained a significant predictor of ADHD (Exp(β) = 0.382, 95% confidence interval = 0.165-0.888, p = .025).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings in a large, nationwide and representative sample of German adolescents demonstrated a small, but significant and inverse link between LDL cholesterol levels and symptoms of ADHD. Further studies are required to decipher the biochemical mechanisms behind this relationship.

KEYWORDS:

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; cholesterol; lipid profile; low-density lipoprotein; triglycerides

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