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Genes May Be Linked To ADHD

July 15th 2009

Researchers have discovered hundreds of gene variations that may be linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
By Anelise Qumerais

Researchers have discovered hundreds of gene variations that may be linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry.

The gene variations are repeated patterns of DNA that have been previously linked to autism and schizophrenia, but never to ADHD.

"When we began this study in 2003, we expected to find a handful of genes that predispose a child to ADHD," said Peter S. White, director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at The Children's Hospital, and co-author of the study, according to HealthDay News. "Instead, there may be hundreds of genes involved, only some of which are changed in each person. But if those genes act on similar pathways, you may end up with a similar result—ADHD. This may also help to explain why children with ADHD often present clinically with slightly different symptoms," added.

The study examined genomes from 335 children with ADHD and over 2000 children without the disease, concluding that hundreds of gene variations occurred with more frequency is children with ADHD.

"Because the gene alterations we found are involved in the development of the nervous system, they may eventually guide researchers to better targets in designing early intervention for children with ADHD," said Josephine Elia, M.D., an ADHD specialist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and co-author of the study, according to Science Daily.

An estimated 1 in 20 children worldwide suffer from ADHD, with symptoms that include hyperactive behavior, inattention and impaired planning skills.