Association of Parkinson’s disease with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in childhood

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Methylphenidate (MPH) is a centrally acting (psycho)stimulant which reversibly blocks the dopamine re-uptake transporter. At present MPH is one of the most frequently prescribed drugs for the symptomatic treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although MPH has been in use for about 50 years, there is no information available concerning the long-term benefits and risks of medication. Based on experiments in rats it has been suggested that MPH treatment may affect the maturation of central dopaminergic systems and may be a risk factor for the development of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The aim of the present case-control study was to gain information about (1) ADHD-like symptoms that may precede PD motor symptoms, and (2) the exposure to psychostimulants in childhood. We used a German short version of the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS-k, Retz-Junginger et al., 2002) which is a reliable measure for the retrospective diagnosis of childhood ADHD, and another questionnaire including a rating scale for symptoms of ADHD in childhood (Q-ADHD-Child) according to DSM-IV and ICD-10 criteria.