Confirmed Results showing that ADD/ADHD is a Genetic disorder

Researchers at Cardif University have found that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is in fact a genetic disorder. Children who had ADHD significantly showed, duplicated, missing or  even overlapping segments of their DNA compared to children who did not have ADHD.   The overlapping segments of DNA are of particular interest because these are commonly found in patients who exhibit neurological diseases such as autism as well as schizophrenia.

Child with ADHD

Child with ADHD..or a funny sense of humor.

The researchers had a good sample size, looking at the genetic information from over 360 children diagnosed with ADHD compared to over 1000 control non ADHD diagnosed children.  What they found was that children with ADHD consistently showed significantly higher levels of these genetic defects on chromosome 16 when compared to children who were not diagnosed with ADHD.

This imply’s that the disease is highly inheritable meaning parents who have ADHD are statistically more likely to have a child with ADHD than parents without.   Researchers even stated that a child with an identical twin with ADHD has 4x as high of a chance of also having ADHD.   Chromosome 16 is of particular importance as the region affected is often seen to play a role in other mental disorders such as schiztophrenia as well as some roles in brain development.  This imply’s that ADHD is not merely a case of environmental distraction or poor food choices but a quantifiable result of a genetic defect resulting in a differing brain development.

This helps researchers better understand how ADHD is derived and by understanding this several key things can occur: A general public understanding will result in more correct support from social agencies and institutions, medicine can more accurately target issues for patients with ADHD and thus give better treatment options and better long term studies of the progression of the disorder can occur.    Hopefully this research will help to dispel many misconceptions and inaccuracies about the disorder which are intensified by growing media attention and hype.

Nigel M Williams, Irina Zaharieva, Andrew Martin, Kate Langley, Kiran Mantripragada, Ragnheidur Fossdal, Hreinn Stefansson, Kari Stefansson, Pall Magnusson, Olafur O Gudmundsson, Omar Gustafsson, Peter Holmans, Michael J Owen, Michael O’Donovan, Anita Thapar. Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a genome-wide analysis. Lancet, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61109-9

Posted on May 1, 2011, in Medicine and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Lara Shapiro-Snair

    Very gratifying to have this proven by science. Also quite interesting about the possible correlation with the same chromosomal abnormality as seen in autism. Looking at my two boys, I can personally see the similarities between the two disorders, but it is not a correlation I have ever heard the doctors draw. Thanks Nate!

  2. I have ADHD. I’ve known for a long time it was genetic; it is somewhat common knowledge. I’m not sure what this study adds but thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi, I ran into this website from mixx. This isn’t not blog post I would typically read, but I loved your perspective on it. Thanks for making a piece worth reading!

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