Children and ADHD: Genetic Influence

As a parent, do you want to find out if your child carries the risk for attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD)? Won’t this help you in supporting your child better? Most parents dismiss ADHD as a child being a little extra noisy or extra impulsive or overly talkative. Little do they realise that a simple task of putting on a pair of socks can be 10 times harder for children with ADHD, and these children will benefit from specialists’ support.


Nearly 5% of children and 2.5% of adults are estimated to have this condition, which means that 5 in 100 kids are not just over active but require support and intervention. A new genome wide association study (GWAS) published in Nature has identified genetic variants associated with the condition, which could be used to identify children at risk. Using data from 20,183 people with ADHD as case and data from 35,191 without the condition as controls, this study is one of the biggest and the most comprehensive for this condition.


ADHD risk variants identified

The study identified 304 risk variants from 12 genetic loci which were associated with mediating gene expression in the brain. These are genes involved in pathways associated with neuronal development, synaptic function, neurotransmitter regulation and other such important processes. These genes also overlapped with genetic loci associated with major depressive disorder and anorexia nervosa.


Replication analysis conducted using 23andMe data and Decode Genetics data

The most significant genetic associations identified by the study researchers were further subjected to replication analysis using data from tens of thousand of cases and controls and tested by direct to consumer genetic testing (DTC) companies like 23andme and Decode Genetics.

The researchers who carried out the study showed that there was strong concordance between the GWAS of ADHD and phenotypic signs, indicating the significance of genetic testing for ADHD.


Can I do an ADHD risk identification using my DNA raw data

Upload your 23andMe raw data or your Ancestry DNA raw data to identify risk of ADHD. This can be used by a qualified physician or health care provider to correlate with signs and symptoms of ADHD and help with treatment. As a parent, understanding genetic risk for ADHD will help in understanding the child’s behavior and needs and him/her better.

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