Serum Zinc Correlates with Parent- and Teacher-Rated Inattention in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Creators:Arnold, L. Eugene
DiSilvestro, Robert A.
Bozzolo, Dawn R.
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Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers
Citation:L. Eugene Arnold et al, "Serum Zinc Correlates with Parent- and Teacher-Rated Inattention in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder," Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 15, no. 4 (2005), doi:10.1089/cap.2005.15.628
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the relationship of zinc nutrition to the severity of attentiondeficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in a middle-class American sample with well-diagnosed ADHD. Previous reports of zinc in ADHD, including two positive clinical trials of supplementation, have come mainly from countries and cultures with different diets and/or socioeconomic realities. Method: Children 5–10 years of age with DISC- and clinician-diagnosed ADHD had serum zinc determinations and parent and teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms. Zinc levels were correlated (Pearson’s and multiple regression) with ADHD symptom ratings. Results: Forty-eight children (37 boys, 11 girls; 33 combined type, 15 inattentive) had serum zinc levels with a median/mode at the lowest 30% of the laboratory reference range; 44 children also had parent/teacher ratings. Serum magnesium levels were normal. Nutritional intake by a parent-answered food frequency questionnaire was unremarkable. Serum zinc correlated at r = -0.45 (p = 0.004) with parent-teacher-rated inattention, even after controlling for gender, age, income, and diagnostic subtype, but only at r = -0.20 (p = 0.22) with CPT omission errors. In contrast, correlation with parent-teacher-rated hyperactivity-impulsivity was nonsignificant in the opposite direction. Conclusion: These findings add to accumulating evidence for a possible role of zinc in ADHD, even for middle-class Americans, and, for the first time, suggest a special relationship to inattentive symptoms. They do not establish either that zinc deficiency causes ADHD nor that ADHD should be treated with zinc. Hypothesis-testing clinical trials are needed.
Rights:© 2005 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers
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