Is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder a Risk Syndrome for Parkinson's Disease?

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Recent epidemiological evidence indicates that diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with increased risk for diseases of the basal ganglia and cerebellum, including Parkinson's disease (PD). The evidence reviewed here indicates that deficits in striatal dopamine are a shared component of the causal chains that produce these disorders. Neuropsychological studies of adult ADHD, prodromal PD, and early-stage PD reveal similar deficits in executive functions, memory, attention, and inhibition that are mediated by similar neural substrates. These and other findings are consistent with the possibility that ADHD may be part of the PD prodrome. The mechanisms that may mediate the association between PD and ADHD include neurotoxic effects of stimulants, other environmental exposures, and Lewy pathology. Understanding the nature of the association between PD and ADHD may provide insight into the etiology and pathogenesis of both disorders. The possible contribution of stimulants to this association may have important clinical and public health implications.

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Harvard review of psychiatry

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