ADHD appears to give ‘evolutionary advantages’ to those battling the coronavirus, which may be good news for parents with children in special education.
Is having ADHD a plus or minus if you contract COVID-19? A research group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found a surprising link between people with ADHD and the chances of recovery from the coronavirus.
The researchers analyzed average data from 54 regions in the U.S. and examined the relationship between the prevalence of adults with ADHD among the population of each region, as well as indices of infection, recovery and mortality from the coronavirus.
While previous research indicated that ADHD was considered a risk factor for COVID-19, the Israeli researchers discovered that the opposite appears to be true.
“Rather than being a risk factor, when coping with coronavirus, ADHD also provides evolutionary advantages,” the researchers concluded in their paper published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.
The findings show that the expected probability of recovery from the virus increases from 0.41% in states with a relatively low incidence of ADHD (3%) to 1.2% in states with a relatively high incidence of ADHD (13%).
In addition, contrary to the definition of ADHD as a risk factor for coronavirus in previous studies, the new study found no association between an increase in the incidence of ADHD in the American population and coronavirus disease or mortality given the population data in each state.
The surprising finding was that ADHD was found to be associated with better recovery from corona.
What can explain these findings? According to the researchers, the “evolutionary advantage” could be the already known positive features of ADHD such as creativity, high energy levels, entrepreneurship and more.
To clarify their point, the researchers cited the genetic disease sickle cell anemia, which disproportionately affects Ashkenazi Jews. People who have the sickle cell anemia gene from both parents will likely suffer from a serious genetic disease over the course of their lives and their life expectancy will be shortened.
However, the sickle cell gene also creates a unique genetic advantage for them to deal effectively with another deadly disease – malaria. If only one of their parents is a carrier of the gene, their offspring will enjoy the benefit of the gene – a natural vaccine against malaria – without paying the price of a serious genetic disease.
“Our hypothesis is that people with ADHD may have inherited genetic benefits from fighting and recovering from the coronavirus,” explained Dr. Yuval Arbel.
“If corroborated, research findings may support the conclusion that coronavirus limitations in special educational frameworks for ADHD would not be required or could be relaxed,” the report concluded.
(United with Israel).