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PLoS One



The associations between ADHD, pain, inflammation, and quality of life in children and adolescents-a clinical study protocol.


Kerekes N, Lundqvist S, Schubert Hjalmarsson E, Torinsson Naluai Å, Kantzer A-K, Knez R
PLoS One. 2022; 17(9):e0273653.
PMID: 36083951.


New research shows that the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is increased in children and adolescents as well as in adults with chronic pain, compared to those without chronic pain. Children and adolescents with ADHD also have an increased incidence of various physical conditions associated with pain, and they more frequently suffer from inflammatory diseases. Moreover, parents of children with ADHD can often suffer from pain conditions. These epidemiological and clinical observations form the scientific basis of our study, which aims to map the relationships between ADHD, altered pain experiences/central sensitization, and inflammation in children and adolescents. We will investigate the presence of central sensitization in children and adolescents with newly diagnosed ADHD and compare it with those who have not been diagnosed with ADHD. Participants (and their biological parents) will complete surveys about their somatic health, pain experience, and quality of life. Biological samples (saliva and stool) will be collected, aiming to utilize proteome and metabolome data to discover disease mechanisms and to predict, prevent and treat them. The results from our investigation should enable an expanded understanding of the pathophysiology behind both ADHD and pain/central sensitization. Presently, there are no established protocols for addressing psychiatric symptoms when examining patients with pain conditions in a somatic care setting, nor is there any knowledge of offering patients with ADHD or other neurodevelopmental disorders adapted treatments for pain conditions. Our results, therefore, can contribute to the development of new treatment strategies for pathological pain conditions in children and adolescents with ADHD. They may also increase awareness about and provide opportunities for the treatment of attention and impulse control problems in children and adolescents with pain syndromes.