Monday, February 18, 2008

Researchers Find Links To Gestational Diabetes And ADD

Gestational diabetes is a metabolic condition that mimics type 2 diabetes. Women in their 24-28th week of pregnancy could develop insulin resistance, second to the increased hormones in their bodies. Insulin resistance means the body is unable to use sugar, the by-product of metabolism. Food is converted into products the cells can use, like sugar. It gets into the cells with the aid of insulin and is used for energy.

Increased hormones from pregnancy can make body cells resistant to insulin, leaving most of the sugar suspended in the blood stream.

Excess sugar could lead to complications at birth and afterwards, for both mother and child, when gestational diabetes is left untreated. The increase in sugar is transferred to the placental barrier and onto the developing child.

Research shows that excess sugar can lead to increased proliferation of beta-cells in the pancreas, which secretes insulin. Increased sugar could lead to babies being bigger than their normal gestational age and could lead to complications at birth or perhaps later on for the child.

After birth, children who are exposed to increased sugar, are at greater risk with low blood sugar as well as having breathing problems. There could also be long term effects for these children.

Researchers found links to neurological abnormalities, including gestational diabetes and ADD. Statistically these links seem less significant as children reach their teens. A study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood shows that children of diabetic mothers had lower IQ scores, were heavier under the age group of 9 and more scored abnormally in the Conners questionnaire (used to evaluate the presence of ADD).

Researchers determined that exposure to gestational diabetes increases the risk of long-term minor neurological deficits in children and was more pronounced during their early years.

Research, published in 2005 in Pediatric Endocrinology Review, concluded that mothers with poor glycemic control and gestational diabetes gave birth to children who performed less well in fine and gross motor functions had a higher rate of inattention, delayed brain maturity and hyperactivity and that gestational diabetes can adversely affect the growth of the baby, both before and after birth. However it did not affect their cognitive ability.

A third study published in Sweden found that children of women with gestational diabetes had an increased risk of hospitalization for developmental disorders and neurological problems .

Gestational diabetes and ADD are inexplicably linked when women are not able to maintain good levels of glycemic control during pregnancy. The reasons are not clear. Several theories exist that children who are exposed to large amounts of insulin and sugar prenatally, are also at an increased risk of altered hormonal problems and obesity.

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