Is magnetic field nonionizing radiation a risk factor for ADHD?

  • Li DK & al.
  • JAMA Netw Open
  • 2 Mar 2020

  • curated by Elisabeth Aron, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Exposure to magnetic field (MF) nonionizing radiation during pregnancy was associated with increased risk for ADHD in offspring in this cohort study.

Why this matters

  • The rates of ADHD have been increasing over the past decades, and research continues into potential environmental factors.

Key results

  • 61/1454 children were diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Those whose mothers had MF exposure above the cutoff during pregnancy had a higher risk for ADHD: adjusted HR, 2.01 (95% CI, 1.06-3.81).
  • Those who also had asthma or atopic dermatitis and whose mothers had exposure above the cutoff had the highest risk for ADHD: adjusted HR, 4.57 (95% CI, 1.61-12.99).

Study design

  • Longitudinal birth cohort study.
  • Cohort obtained from 2 birth cohorts from Kaiser Permanente Northern California: pregnancies during October 1, 1996 to October 31, 1998, and from May 1, 2006 to February 29, 2012.
  • Pregnant participants wore a meter to capture the level of MF nonionizing radiation during a 24-hour period.
  • Exposure classified as low with 1.3 mG of exposure and high with ≥1.3 mG.
  • Mother-child dyads (n=1454) were followed up to 20 years.
  • Interviews were used to identify potential confounders.
  • Funding: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; California Public Health Foundation.

Limitations

  • Measurement taken during a single 24-hour period.
  • Binary classification of exposure, not continuous.
  • No causation established.