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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 55 (2013) 10, 773 - 782

Review article

The role of sleep in ADHD: Possibilities for prevention of ADHD?

M. Arns


background Personalized medicine aims to provide the right treatment for the right person at the right time, as opposed to the currently employed ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. This development relies on identification of adhd subgroups using biomarkers. One important adhd subgroup is characterised by impaired vigilance regulation, as quantified by the eeg and this sub-group responds well to stimulant medication and neurofeedback. Recent insights suggest a clear association between reduced sleep duration and adhd complaints in this sub-group of adhd patients. A recently published model explains how different treatments e.g. chronobiological treatments and neurofeedback impact on this neural circuitry and mediate adhd symptom improvement.
aim To test this recently published model predicting a relationship between solar intensity and adhd prevalence.
method A literature survey on studies using identical methods to estimate the prevalence of adhd in different geographical areas and compare those to worldwide solar intensity data.
results A clear relationship between solar intensity and the worldwide prevalence of adhd was found, explaining 34-57% of the variance in adhd prevalence, where a lower prevalence of adhd was found in areas with high solar-intensity.
conclusion The preventative effect of high solar intensity may be related to improvement of circadian clock disturbances. These findings likely apply to a substantial sub-group of adhd patients and have major implications for our understanding of the etiology and possibly prevention of adhd.

keywords ADHD, biomarker, chronobiology, EEG, neurofeedback