Hunt for ADHD Genes A Step toward Earlier Detection, Prevention
Existing evidence suggests that genetic risk factors are critical to the development of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Experts at Duke University Medical Center say that identification of the genes responsible is the first step towards earlier detection, prevention and, in the future, better treatments for ADHD.
Allison Ashley-Koch, Ph.D., is a geneticist at the Duke Center for Human Genetics. She says ADHD is believed to be one of the most heritable of all psychiatric conditions.
Siblings of individuals with ADHD are about four times more likely to develop ADHD than individuals with no family history of the disorder, she said. Similarly, many parents of individuals with ADHD also suffer symptoms. However, adults often fail to recognize their own symptoms until after their child is diagnosed.
"It's estimated that up to 90 percent of the risk for developing ADHD stems from genetic factors," Ashley-Koch said.
"ADHD is a complex disorder likely influenced by many genes