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"CNS infection by enterovirus 71 may lead to hyperactivity in some children
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Enterovirus 71 (EV71) central nervous system infection may cause symptoms associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to Taiwanese researchers.
In the August issue of Pediatrics, Dr. Luan-Yin Chang of the National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei and colleagues note that although there is strong evidence suggesting that genetic factors are important in ADHD, CNS infection and events such as trauma may also contribute in some children.
To investigate the possible role of EV71, the researchers studied 86 children with confirmed EV71 CNS infection diagnosed between 3 and 7 years before enrollment; 49% had had viral meningitis and 41% had had severe CNS involvement such as encephalitis and encephalomyelitis.
Based on assessment by teachers and mothers and other testing, 20% of the EV71 group had elevated ADHD-related symptoms compared with only 3% of 172 matched controls, a highly significant difference.
The EV71 group also had more internalizing problems, and their verbal and performance IQs as well as verbal comprehension indices showed a significant inverse correlation with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity and ADHD scores.
The researchers say they were surprised not to find a correlation between age at infection and ADHD-related symptoms.
However, given the findings overall, Dr. Chang told Reuters Health, "EV71 CNS infection may affect long-term regulation of attention and emotion and cause hyperactivity-impulsivity in children."
Source: Pediatrics 2008;122:e452-e458."