ADHD Is Believed To Be A Genetic Disorder

Raluca Coman

Written by Raluca Coman
Posted in: Health
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British scientists have discovered that the attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is in fact a genetic disorder and believe that research done in this area can lead to better treatments for the condition.
Researchers have studied the genes of more than 1,400 children and discovered that the ones which have ADHD were more likely than others to have small parts of their DNA duplicated or missing. Anita Thapar, a professor psychiatry at Cardiff University who led the study, says that the findings might change the general belief that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or diets too high in sugar. The news is surprising and it gives us the first direct genetic link to ADHD which proves that the brains of children with this condition develop differently than the others of children that do not have this gene.

ADHD is a common child mental disorder and it affects 3 to 5 percent of the children, and is more common in boys than in girls. Children that manifest this disorder are excessively restless, impulsive and easily distracted, and being in school is difficult for them. Until now, the treatment for this condition was a combination of medication and behavioral therapy, such as Novartis, Ritalin, Concerta from Johnson & Johnson, Adderall and Vyvanse from Shire and Eli from Lilly. Finding out what is really causing ADHD is important for developing ways new ways of treatment for the disease. But scientists do not believe that the DNA information they found could lead to the development of a genetic test for the disease, because it appears as a mix of genes and environment conditions.

The study also showed similarities between the deleted or duplicated DNA segments, which are named in medical terms copy number variants (CNVs), and the genetic variants of patients diagnosed with autism and schizophrenia, which was a proof strong enough for the scientists that the disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition, and is nor a behavioral fault caused by bad parenting. The study was done on 366 kids with ADHD and 1,047 kids that were healthy, and after studying their gene maps, scientists found out that the CNVs were double as a number in the AND of the children with ADHD compared to the other children. They have observed a clear genetic link between the a particular region on chromosome 16 which has been linked to schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorders.11

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