Gene that plays role in ADHD found
What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Children with ADHD have impaired functioning in multiple settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood.
Pediatric researchers have identified hundreds of gene variations that occur more frequently in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than in children without ADHD. Many of those genes were already known to be important for learning, behavior, brain function and neurodevelopment, but had not been previously associated with ADHD.
Unlike changes to single DNA bases, called SNPs or "snips," the alterations examined in the current study are broader changes in structure. Called copy number variations (CNVs), they are missing or repeated stretches of DNA. CNVs have recently been found to play significant roles in many diseases, including autism and schizophrenia Everyone has CNVs in their DNA, but not all of the variations occur in locations that affect the function of a gene. The current study is the first to investigate the role of CNVs in ADHD.
ADHD is the most common neuropsychiatric disorder in children, affecting an estimated 1 in 20 children worldwide. It may include hyperactive behavior, impulsivity and inattentive symptoms, with impaired skills in planning, organizing, and maintaining focus. Its cause is unknown, but it is known from family studies to be strongly influenced by genetics.