An early onset form of Parkinson’s disease may be more likely to develop in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, Newsweek reports.
A team of researchers from the University of Utah studied how the two conditions might be linked. Published in Nature Neuropsychopharmacology on Wednesday, the study found that the link is even more pronounced in patients who were treated with certain drugs, such as amphetamines and psychostimulants like Ritalin.
“In individuals who were diagnosed with ADHD and weren’t treated with any stimulant, there was about a two and a half fold increased in the likelihood that they would develop Parkinson’s or Parkinson’s related disorders,” Dr. Glen Hanson, a professor of pharmacology and vice dean of the University of Utah School of Dentistry, who led the study, said
“If they were treated with Ritalin or other amphetamines, that increased from 2.4 to 8.6-fold. There was this dramatic jump in the likelihood that they would develop a Parkinson’s-like disorder.”
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease whose symptoms include rigidity, tremors and difficulty walking, and then cognitive issues at later stages of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists haven’t determined the exact causes of Parkinson’s but believe it could be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In the United States each year, about 50,000 people are diagnosed with the disease.