Genes found that link ADHD and ASD and other neuropsychiatric disorders

A study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine has found a genetic overlap exists between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other neuropsychiatric conditions such as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

The research teams involved scientists from The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto who studied the DNA of 248 unrelated patients with ADHD looking for copy number variants (CNVs). CNVs are insertions or deletions affecting genes, and in three of the 173 children for whom the DNA of both parents was available, they found spontaneous CNVs where the mutations were new to the child and not passed on from the parents. In the 19 of the children who had inherited CNVs from their parents, the researchers found some genes previously associated with other neuropsychiatric conditions. In nine other children with ASD, they found CNVs that related to ADHD and other disorders.

The results show that there are genetic factors that increase the risk for various kinds of neuropsychiatric disorders, and further research is needed to explore why these common risks can turn into different kinds of disorders.

Source: Science Translational Medicine

First published in September 2011

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