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Persistent crying as a baby linked to childhood ADHD

Infants who experience regulatory disorders are at greater risk of developing behavioural problems in childhood, a study has suggested.

Researchers discovered that babies who persistently cried and had difficulties with sleeping or feeding had a higher chance of being affected by conditions such as ADHD in later life.

Scientists from Warwick University, working with colleagues at the University of Basel in Switzerland and the University of Bochum in Germany, analysed 22 studies carried out between 1987 and 2006.

Their results indicated that the more types of regulatory disorder a child suffered, the higher their risk of later having behavioural problems.

The study has been printed in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal.

The authors said: “Regulatory problems in infancy can increase the likelihood of developing behaviour problems in childhood.

“Our findings highlight the need for prospective follow-up studies of regulatory disturbed infants and require reliable assessments of crying, sleeping or feeding problems.

“The evidence from this systematic review suggests that those with persisting regulatory problems in families with other problems may require early interventions to minimise or prevent the long-term consequences of infant regulatory problems.”

About 20% of all babies experience excessive crying, sleeping difficulties and feeding problems, the researchers said.

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