Sunlight and ADHD


| 3 Comments
We all love the sun. Sun makes you happy (maybe another blog post on that later). But could the sun have an affect on ADHD? Findings are pointing towards yes. Data had previously shown that there are less cases of this disorder in sunny areas so researchers decided to take it a step further.

Dr. Martijn Arns, a biological psychologist, collected and systematically gathered and studied information on the topic. The analyzed multiple data sets from the United States and 9 other countries. Their findings confirm that there is a geographic relationship with ADHD. Areas exposed to less sun have more cases of ADHD. The article suggests, "that high sunlight intensity may exert a 'protective' effect for ADHD."  Why this occurs in this way is unknown and more research needs to be done on the topic. 

For me, I need more information to really believe this study is causation. The article leaves out vital pieces of information such as how the information was collected and by who. The article also gives very little detail about the study design and this is what makes it difficult to accept. Also, the idea seems a little bit far fetched and it makes me think that this is a case where correlation does not equal causation. 

Other articles pertaining to this correlation are written on the same study done by Arns. In my completely unprofessional opinion, much more research needs to be done on this topic before the idea that there is causation between ADHD and a sunny climate. 

3 Comments

I think this is a pretty cool topic. I am from San Diego, and so this study would suggest that barely any people where I live have ADHD. This seems kind of interesting to me, but also kind of unrealistic. You already pointed out that there are some flaws to this study and some pretty big holes. I would also point out that the ADHD could be effected by a multitude of 3rd variables, and so we should not keep out of mind, either. The Mayo Clinic, here, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/DS00275/DSECTION=causes, tells us that there are in fact a myriad of reasons that ADHD is caused, but so far there is not one definitive answer. Cool post.

I would like to see not more countries involved, but instead more data from one country with a large variety of sunlight in different regions to take out other variables such as how ADHD is diagnosed and how often it is diagnosed. For example, America has one of the highest rates of ADHD which could just be over diagnosed. I believe this would take out some confounding third variables. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/10/12/are-americans-more-prone-to-adhd

I found this article interesting and decided to click on it because I have ADHD and so does my dad and we both hate sitting in the sun. Both of us find that we are somewhere like the beach we just get to antsy and the heat can make it worse. So when I saw the title of this I was curious to see if there was a connection with that that I had never thought of before (I always figured it was a coincidence never thought to put the two similarities of my father and I together). I am kind of confused though on which side you are on? I take from this that you are saying the sun helps those with ADHD meaning it is better for them to be in the sun. Since I felt it is the opposite I decided to do a little research (maybe we are coming up with a file drawer problem). http://add.about.com/u/ua/adhdthebasics/ADHD-and-Sensitivities.htm I found this really interesting! That it seems it is more due to hyper sensitivity of noises and light! Cool find thanks!

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