Parental asthma occurrence, exacerbations and risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Xiaoqin Liu, Søren Dalsgaard, Trine Munk-Olsen, Jiong Li, Rosalind J. Wright, Natalie C. Momen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate whether intrauterine exposure to maternal asthma or asthma exacerbations increases the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: Using Danish register data, this cohort study comprised of 961,202 live singletons born in Denmark during 1997–2012. Children were followed to a maximum of 20.0 years from birth until the first of ADHD-diagnosis/prescription, emigration, death, or 31 December 2016. Cox regression models were used to evaluate the association between maternal or paternal asthma, asthma exacerbations and offspring ADHD. Results: During 11.4 million person-years of follow-up, 27,780 (2.9%) children were identified as having ADHD. ADHD risk was increased among offspring born to asthmatic mothers (hazard ratio (HR) 1.41, 95% CI: 1.36–1.46) or asthmatic fathers (HR 1.13, 95% CI: 1.08–1.18). Antenatal antiasthma medication treatment did not increase offspring ADHD. However, higher risks were observed among offspring of mothers with asthma exacerbations compared with children of asthmatic mothers with no exacerbations: HR 1.12 (95% CI: 1.00–1.25) for pre-pregnancy exacerbations; 1.21 (95% CI: 1.00–1.47) for exacerbations during pregnancy; and 1.25 (95% CI: 1.08–1.44) for exacerbations after delivery. Conclusions: These results support theories regarding shared genetic and environmental risk factors having a role in the development of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-308
Number of pages7
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Asthma
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Cohort studies
  • Registries


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