ADHD is Genetic, Study Shows

Filed under: News, In The News, Weird But True, Research Reveals: Babies, New In Pop Culture

ADHD isn't caused by bad parenting or a poor diet. Credit: Getty Images


It's all in the genes.

Or so says a new study, which researchers believe provides the first direct evidence that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder -- commonly known as ADHD -- is a genetic condition.

Scientists from Cardiff University, UK, analyzed genetic material from children with and without ADHD, according to an article to be published in the Lancet. They found that the children who had the condition were more likely to have missing or duplicated segments of DNA than those who didn't, a variation commonly found in brain disorders, the article says.

This is the first direct evidence that ADHD is a brain development disorder, the researchers write.

The findings suggest ADHD may rise from the same biological basis as autism, according to the article. They also found links to the chromosome that has been implicated in schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorder, the study says. It should be looked it as a developmental disorder like autism rather than as a behavioral issue, the researchers write.

"We hope that these findings will help overcome the stigma associated with ADHD," Anita Thapar, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Cardiff University and the study's lead investigator, says in a statement. "Too often, people dismiss ADHD as being down to bad parenting or poor diet. As a clinician, it was clear to me that this was unlikely to be the case. Now we can say with confidence that ADHD is a genetic disease and that the brains of children with this condition develop differently to those of other children."

There were previous indications that it was a genetic condition; for example, kids whose parents have ADHD are more likely to suffer from it than children whose parents don't have it, and if one identical twin has the condition the other has a 75 percent chance of having it as well, the researchers write.

About two out of every 100 children suffer from the disorder, which makes kids restless, impulsive and distractible, the article says. There is currently no cure for it.

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