Neonatal jaundice and increased risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A population-based cohort study

Chang Ching Wei, Chun Hung Chang, Cheng Li Lin, Shih Ni Chang, Tsai Chung Li, Chia Hung Kao

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Scopus citations


    Background Previous studies have posited conflicting results regarding the relationship between neonatal jaundice and the subsequent risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We therefore performed a large population study with a defined neonatal jaundice cohort to investigate the incidence and risk of physician-diagnosed ADHD in Taiwan. Methods From 2000 to 2004, 24,950 neonatal jaundice cases and 69,964 matched nonjaundice controls were identified. At the end of 2008, the incidence rate and hazard ratios (HRs) of physician-diagnosed ADHD were calculated. Results The incidence of ADHD was 2.48-fold greater in the jaundice cohort than in the nonjaundice cohort (3.84 vs. 1.51 per 100,000 person-years) in the study period. The HR of ADHD was substantially greater for male, preterm, and low-birth-weight infants with neonatal jaundice. The risk of developing ADHD in the jaundice cohort was greater after a diagnosis of neonatal jaundice for more than 6 years (HR: 2.64; 95% confidence interval: 2.13-3.28). The risk of ADHD increased for neonates with higher serum bilirubin levels requiring phototherapy and with longer admission days. Conclusion Neonates with jaundice are at high risk for developing physician-diagnosed ADHD during their growth period. A risk alert regarding neurologic consequences is urgently required after a neonatal jaundice diagnosis. Additional studies should be conducted to clarify the pathogenesis of these relationships.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)460-467
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


    • Neonatal jaundice
    • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
    • population-based cohort study

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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