Researchers have identified gene variations that occur more commonly in children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).
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.
"Because the gene alterations we found are involved in the development of the nervous system, they may eventually guide researchers to better targets in designing early intervention for children with ADHD," said lead author Josephine Elia, M.D., a psychiatrist and ADHD expert at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The study appeared online Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
"When we began this study in 2003, we expected to find a handful of genes that predispose a child to ADHD," said study co-leader Peter S. White, Ph.D., a molecular geneticist and director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Children's Hospital. "Instead, there may be hundreds of genes involved, only some of which are changed in each person. But if those genes act on similar pathways, you may end up with a similar result -- ADHD. This may also help to explain why children with ADHD often present clinically with slightly different symptoms."
Elia and White stressed that much further work must be done before genetic findings lead to ADHD treatments.