"This study provides further evidence not only that ADHD has a genetic basis in a distinct subset of children with ADHD but that the neurotransmitter glutamate seems to play a big role in some cases," he added. "Hopefully, these findings will allow researchers to identify safe and effective treatment strategies for the subset of children with ADHD who have variations in their glutamate-related genes."
The study was published online Dec. 4 in the journal Nature Genetics.
ADHD affects as many as 7 percent of school-age children and a smaller percentage of adults. Symptoms include short attention span, impulsive behavior and excessive activity. The causes are not known, but ADHD tends to run in families and is believed to be influenced by many interacting genes.
Adesman also noted that the technique used in this study, comparative whole-genome analysis, "may in the future identify other treatment opportunities for sub-groups of children with ADHD and other conditions."
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about ADHD.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCES: Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, news release, Dec. 4, 2011
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