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Poor heart health may lead to learning difficulties in children

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Blood pressure and cholesterol testing may benefit adolescents who are having a difficult time in school. New research indicates that poor heart health may increase the risk of learning disabilities, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The number of children with ADHD has skyrocketed over the course of the last two decades. While some have argued that the increase in diagnoses can be attributed to a rise in awareness of the condition, the findings of the present study indicate that the uptick in ADHD has paralleled the increase in childhood obesity.

For the study, a team of investigators from the University of Rochester Medical Center examined the medical records of more than 201 school-age children who had been referred to hypertension specialists. They found that 18 percent of these children had some form of learning disability, which is significantly higher than the rate for the general population, which is about 5 percent.

"With each study, we're getting closer to understanding the relationship between hypertension and cognitive function in children," said Marc Lande, who led the investigation. "And this study underscores the need for us to continue to tease out the potential risk children with hypertension have for learning difficulties at a time when learning is so important."

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