ADHD Gene Benefits Nomadic People

ADHD may only pose problems in our modern sedentary society.

Wednesday June 18th - 10:09am

Filed Under: ADHD Causes

The human gene DRD4, which helps the brain code for dopamine receptors, is associated with ADHD and similar behavior, including risk-taking and impulsivity. There are several variants of the gene, and one that is associated with novelty-seeking behavior as well as other ADHD symptoms.

Dr. Ben Campbell, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with a team of researchers from Northwestern University, Boston University, and UNLV, studied men with this variant of the DRD4 gene among the Ariaal people of Kenya.

The researchers found that men with this variant, the 7R allele, who lived a nomadic lifestyle were better nourished in terms of the body mass index and height, than those men who had turned to a settled way of life.

Campbell and his colleagues' results suggest that environment plays a major role in determining how effective a genetic outcome will be. The researchers also suggest that while ADHD may have long-term risks in our present society, in a lifestyle characterized by constant activity, there are benefits to those with ADHD over their non-ADHD counterparts.

To read more, go to BMC Evolutionary Biology.

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