ADHD linked to genetic condition - study
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For the first time, a direct link has been found between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and differences in brain development as displayed in autism and other disorders, according to the findings.
Scientists at Cardiff University, who carried out a study of almost 1 400 children, say the results should help parents beat the stigma of ADHD, which has often been dismissed as mere bad behaviour.
Poor parenting or poor diets have long been thought to set off the symptoms, but the latest study suggests genetic defects are involved.
The risk of having a certain set of genetic variants was twice as high among children diagnosed with ADHD compared with children who did not have it.
Professor Anita Thapar, who led the study, said ADHD was known to run in families but this was the first direct evidence that genetic factors were important. She added: “Too often, people dismiss ADHD as being down to bad parenting or poor diet.
“Now we can say with confidence that ADHD is a genetic disease and that the brains of children with this condition develop differently from those of other children.”
In recent years, the term ADHD has been used to describe a collection of behavioural problems linked to poor attention span - including impulsiveness, restlessness and hyperactivity - for which children may require prescription drugs and special needs teaching.
The research team found that rare variations in which small segments of DNA are duplicated or missing were twice as common in children with ADHD than in those without the condition.
The research, which has been published in The Lancet medical journal, found an overlap between the affected parts of the DNA and those associated with autism and schizophrenia.
Although four out of five children with ADHD did not have this particular set of genetic variants, the researchers believe other variants not included in the study may also be involved. - Daily Mail