British scientists have found the first direct evidence attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a genetic disorder and say their research could eventually lead to better treatments for the condition.
Researchers who scanned the gene maps of more than 1,400 children found that those with ADHD were more likely than others to have small chunks of their DNA duplicated or missing.
Anita Thapar, a professor psychiatry at Cardiff University who led the study, said the findings should help dispel the myths that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or high-sugar diets.
“This is really exciting because it gives us the first direct genetic link to ADHD. 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,” she told reporters at a briefing about the findings.
ADHD is one of the most common child mental disorders and is estimated to affect around 3 to 5 percent of children globally. It is seen far more often in boys than in girls.
Full story: Study finds first evidence that ADHD is genetic