ADHD, SIDS, and Vaccines: What's the Link?

ADHD, SIDS, and Vaccines: What's the Link?
ADHD, SIDS, and Vaccines: What's the Link?

NEW ORLEANS, LA—Population level-analyses between 2003–2013 found no links between sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and vaccines, Jana Shaw, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY, presented at IDWeek 2016.

The primary vaccination series is typically initiated in infants when they are between 2–4 months old, which is also a peak timeframe for SIDS. Many parents have questioned whether the timing of 2- and 4-month vaccinations and SIDS are related. Further concerns regarding the link between ADHD and vaccines have also persisted. 

Dr. Shaw and co-researcher Y. Tony Yang, ScD, LLM, MPH, from George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, evaluated whether there was a statistically significant association between vaccination uptake and SIDS and ADHD. Vaccination coverage data for 2003–2013 from the National Immunization Survey (NIS) at the 13-month milestone were utilized for the following vaccine doses: 3+DTaP; 2+Polio; 1+MMR; 3+Hib; and 3+HepB.

Annual infant mortality rates from SIDS were obtained from the National Vital Statistics Reports for 2007–2013. ADHD prevalence at the state-level were obtained from the National Survey of Children's Health for 2003, 2007, and 2011. The analyses were adjusted to control for variation due to sociodemographic factors. 

The data showed mean incidence for SIDS was 39.9 per 100,000 live births and 8.9 per 100 children for ADHD. The rates for SIDS declined over time from 55.6 to 38.7 per 100,000 live births (P=0.4), whereas ADHD diagnoses increased from 7.8% to 11.0% (P=0.3). Mean coverage for each of the 5 vaccines significantly differed, from 47.7% to 95.1% (P<0.01).

Dr. Shaw stated, "State-level vaccination coverage was not found to be associated with SIDS or ADHD rates for each of the vaccines evaluated (P>0.22)." 

Overall, the study showed that neither SIDS nor ADHD rates were influenced by vaccination coverage.

"Our findings may help pediatricians facing vaccine-hesitant parents by providing current and evidence-based vaccine safety information," she concluded.

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