ADHD may have genetic underpinnings
Compelling new research released Thursday shows that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- ADHD -- may have genetic underpinnings. Reporting in the British medical journal The Lancet, scientists at Cardiff University in Wales found that people with certain genetic makeups may be more likely to have the disorder.
Researchers compared the number of chromosomal deletions or duplications -- known as "copy number variants" or CNVs -- in certain genetic sequences in children diagnosed with ADHD and those without the disorder. They found CNVs to be twice as common among the children with ADHD. Moreover, the CNVs occurred at spots along the genetic sequence previously associated with autism and schizophrenia, which suggests that the disorders may share a common biological background.
The findings may one day lead to a treatment or even a way to prevent ADHD. But for now, they may simply help parents, teachers, and everyone else who encounters kids with ADHD -- not to mention the kids themselves -- understand that the condition may be a manifestation of genetics, not just a matter of watching too much TV, eating the wrong foods or receiving too little discipline.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
| September 30, 2010; 3:22 PM ET
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