Genetic Basis for ADHD Identified

CARDIFF, Wales, Sept. 30 (UPI) — A study has for the first time identified genetic changes in children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, British researchers say.

A study funded by the U.K. Wellcome Trust says DNA markers for ADHD have been identified in a study of 366 children diagnosed with the disorder, The Guardian reported Thursday.

The markers found are in the same area of the brain as genetic variants linked to autism and schizophrenia, researchers say, suggesting ADHD would be better classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder than a behavioral problem.

“We hope that these findings will help overcome the stigma associated with ADHD,” Professor Anita Thapar of Cardiff University said.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

The researchers say they have not identified a specific single gene that is responsible for the condition, and environmental circumstances must be taken into consideration.

“ADHD is a very complex disorder which will have a number of different causes. A number of different genetic factors will be involved along with other, non-genetic factors,” Dr. Kate Langley, another of the study authors, said.

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