News: Specialized Press
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNO)Congress 2009: the role of genetic factors in adult ADHD
Source: EUROPA PRESS / Date: September 15th 2009 / Category: Specialized Press
At the 22nd Congress of the ECNP in Istanbul, Dr. Barbara Franke (Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands) presents the last discoveries in the identification of risk gens of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Franke stated: "Evidence suggests that the etiology of ADHD has a strong genetic component". The inheritance of ADHD in adults seems higher that in children: while a sibling of a child with ADHD has a 3-4 fold increased risk compared to children of control, this risk is 17 fold for a sibling of an adult ADHD patient. Major breakthroughs are expected from the International Multicenter persistent ADHD Collaboration (IMpACT), which is investigating the largest clinical ADHD sample worldwide.
Although ADHD has classically been seen a child disease, more than half of the patients carry symptoms into adulthood. The prevalence of ADHD in adults lies between 1% and 4%. Adult patients have difficulties in the social, educational and professional fields, such as developing or maintaining stable social relationships, completing educational programs and holding stable jobs. The expansion of knowledge on genetics, neuroimaging and research on behavior will lead to a better understanding of the causes of ADHD, leading the way to more effective treatments for all age groups, and preventing the progress of the disease in adulthood.
Recently, it has become possible to search for such genes on a genome basis. This approach has offered a first gene for ADHD in children, CDH13, encoding a cell-adhesion gene with a role in early brain development. A preliminary analysis in IMPACT suggests that this gene also plays a role in the adult ADHD.
The identification of genetic risk factors for ADHD will help identify new treatments and will contribute to the early prevention of the disease.