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ADD ADD ADHD News September 30th 2010 It s Official

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ADD ADD ADHD News September 30th 2010 It s Official Powered By Docstoc
					                             ADD/ADHD News
                               September 30th 2010


  It's Official! ADHD Is A Genetic Disorder
                  The following is a press release from The Lancet

STUDY IS FIRST TO FIND DIRECT EVIDENCE THAT ADHD
              IS A GENETIC DISORDER
 In a study published Online First (www.thelancet.com) and in an upcoming Lancet,
           researchers have provided the first direct evidence that attention-
     deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a genetic condition. ADHD is a brain
 development disorder, concludes the Article—written by a team of scientists at the
     MRC Centre in Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics and Department of
  Psychological Medicine and Neurology, Cardiff University, UK, and colleagues. The
study was funded mostly by the Wellcome Trust with additional funding provided by
various bodies including Action Medical Research, the Medical Research Council, and
                                   the European Union

 ADHD affects around 1 in 50 children, and makes children restless, impulsive, and
distractible. Children with ADHD exhibit significant problems at home and school. For
 many years, the disease has been attributed to bad parenting or high-sugar diets,
despite a number of factors suggesting genetic factors are at play. For example, the
   child of a parent with ADHD is more likely to have the condition than a child of a
parent without it. And if one of a set of identical twins has ADHD, the other twin has
      a 75% chance of having it. Currently there is no cure for the condition, but
     symptoms can be treated with a combination of medications and behavioural
                                     interventions.

 The study involved genetic analysis of DNA from 366 children with ADHD and 1047
without the condition (controls). The researchers found that children with ADHD were
  more likely to have small DNA segments duplicated or missing than controls. This
 type of genetic variation is found to be more common in brain disorders. Thus this
   new study provides the first direct evidence that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental
                                        disorder.

Furthermore, they also found significant overlap between these segments—known as
  copy number variations or CNVs—and those linked to autism and schizophrenia.
 Whilst these disorders are currently thought to be entirely separate, there is some
 overlap between ADHD and autism in terms of symptoms and learning difficulties.
    This new research suggests there may be a shared biological basis to the two
     conditions. The most significant overlap was found at a particular region on
  chromosome 16 which has been previously implicated in schizophrenia and other
  major psychiatric disorders and spans a number of genes including one known to
                     play a role in the development of the brain .

"We hope that these findings will help overcome the stigma associated with ADHD,"
 says lead investigator Professor Anita Thapar. "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."

 "Children with ADHD have a significantly higher rate of missing or duplicated DNA
segments compared to other children and we have seen a clear genetic link between
 these segments and other brain disorders," says author Dr Nigel Williams. "These
      findings give us tantalising clues to the changes that can lead to ADHD."

"ADHD is not caused by a single genetic change, but is likely caused by a number of
genetic changes, including CNVs, interacting with as yet unidentified environmental
 factors," explains a third author, Dr Kate Langley. "Screening children for the CNVs
that we have identified will not help diagnose their condition. We already have very
                     rigorous clinical assessments to do just that."

 The research team says their findings should help clear up misunderstanding about
ADHD, so that affected individuals and their families encounter less stigma. They say
   their results also show that ADHD is better considered as a neurodevelopmental
    disorder like autism rather than as a behavioural problem. “Genetics gives us a
  window into the biology of the brain. In the future these findings will help unravel
 the biological basis of ADHD which in turn will help develop new and more effective
                          treatments,” says Professor Thapar.

    In a linked Comment, Dr Peter H Burbach, Department of Neuroscience and
 Pharmacology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center
  Utrecht, Netherlands, says: “The first gains beyond today’s study might be initial
insights into the pathogenesis and neurobiology of brain development as influenced
by these genetic variants. This knowledge will eventually enter the clinic and might
   affect the way people think about and treat neurodevelopmental disorders by
    accounting for the biological consequence of the specific patient’s genotype.”

ADDers.org comment:

 This is indeed extremely welcome news of clear evidence to confirm that attention-
  deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is indeed a brain development disorder with
  closer links to autism than was previously thought. I hope this will be a welcome
 relief to the many families who have to face criticism and ridicule on a daily basis,
   when trying to explain the behaviour of their ADHD child. I hope also that many
     adults with ADHD, will feel much better knowing that their condition wasn't
something to do with their upbringing or diet. Extremely low self esteem is probably
the biggest common factor in those diagnosed with ADHD, both children and adults.
Now we can point to proof that it is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Let us hope that
 this leads to a better understanding and treatment for children and adult sufferers
                                         alike.

Simon Hensby www.adders.org

				
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