Study Links Rates of ADHD to Altitude

Bioscience Technology
April 8, 2015 | by University of Utah | News |

The prevalence of ADHD decreases substantially as altitude increases, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders online. For example, in Utah with an average state elevation of 6,100 feet, the rate of diagnosed ADHD cases is about 50 percent of states at sea level.

Since decreased dopamine levels are associated with ADHD, University of Utah researchers believe higher levels of dopamine produced as a reaction to hypobaric hypoxia—a condition caused when people breathe air with less oxygen at higher elevations— result in decreased ADHD. By contrast, in prior studies these authors found that hypobaric hypoxia associated with altitude may serve as a kind of environmental stressor, triggering mood disorders and suicide.

According to Dr. Harold Levinson, the authors have presented intriguing evidence suggesting the hypobaric oxygen effects of altitude on decreasing ADHD. Might hypobaric oxygen therapy decrease the symptoms of ADHD? Equally interesting, the authors’ prior findings also led Levinson to wonder if hyperbaric oxygen therapy might help depression and reduce suicide?

About Dr. Harold Levinson
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. For more information, call 1(800)334-7323 or visit:


Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat/


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