A Genetic Clue Behind ADHD?

Alan R. Jacobs, MD


April 25, 2019

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

This is the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

An international group of experts from the United States and Europe have now published the largest ever genomic-scale study of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).[1]

Their study included 20,183 persons diagnosed with ADHD and 35,191 controls, all from different countries in Europe, the United States, Canada, and China.

The investigators were able to discover 12 independent loci that surpassed genome-wide significance, most of which were found in regions conserved by evolution.

Many loci were related to regulation of gene expression in the brain. One gene, FOXP2, is involved in the creation of neural synapses and learning. Another gene, DUSP6, is involved in the control of dopamine neurotransmission. A third gene, SEMA6D, is thought to play a role in neuronal branching.

The authors point out that their results support the idea that ADHD is a biologically based disorder and that it is an extreme expression of continuous, heritable traits.

This has been the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

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