Food and Behaviour Research

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Sleep disturbances and serum ferritin levels in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Cortese S, Konofal E, Bernardina BD, Mouren MC, Lecendreux M. (2009) Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry.  18(7): 393-9. Epub 2009 Feb 5. 

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BACKGROUND: A subset of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may present with impairing sleep disturbances. While preliminary evidence suggests that iron deficiency might be involved into the pathophysiology of daytime ADHD symptoms, no research has been conducted to explore the relationship between iron deficiency and sleep disturbances in patients with ADHD. The aim of this study was to assess the association between serum ferritin levels and parent reports of sleep disturbances in a sample of children with ADHD.

METHODS: Subjects: Sixty-eight consecutively referred children (6-14 years) with ADHD diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria using the semi-structured interview Kiddie-SADS-PL. Measures: parents filled out the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC) and the Conners Parent Rating Scale (CPRS). Serum ferritin levels were determined using the Tinaquant method.

Compared to children with serum ferritin levels >or=45 microg/l, those with serum ferritin levels or=45 and

CONCLUSIONSerum ferritin levels <45 microg/l might indicate a risk for sleep wake transition disorders, including abnormal sleep movements, in children with ADHD. Our results based on questionnaires set the basis for further actigraphic and polysomnographic studies on nighttime activity and iron deficiency in ADHD. Research in this field may suggest future trials of iron supplementation (possibly in association with ADHD medications) for abnormal sleep motor activity in children with ADHD.