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Sci/Tech

Scientists discover ADHD gene

Genetic flaw in mice causes a reaction similar to ADHD, say Danish researchers whose discovery may improve medical treatment


Kids suffering from ADHD may have a broken gene (Photo: Colourbox)

July 3, 2014
07:00

by Andreas Jakobsen


More hyperactive kids and young adults get ADHD diagnoses these days, but scientists still have a hard time finding out what is causing the disorder.

That is except for a group of Danish researchers who just had a study published in the Neuron science journal.

Their results revealed how a condition similar to ADHD is caused by a flaw in a certain gene that affects the brain – referred to as the sorcs2 gene.

READ MORE: Teenagers risk developing ADHD symptoms through media zapping

Of mice and men
Anders Nykjær, a professor of biomedicine at Aarhus University and the senior researcher behind the study, explained that their conclusion confirms a previous hunch.

"If the gene is broken, it's 100 percent certain that it will lead to ADHD symptoms in mice. But it's also a gene we possess, and scientists have previously suspected that the gene is involved in developing ADHD in humans. Our study confirms that suspicion," he told Videnskab.

READ MORE: Boom in number treated for ADHD

The gene malfunction damages the brain's reward system and prevents it from releasing the dopamine hormone that motivates humans and helps them to learn from their experiences.

Doesn’t explain all cases
Although a broken sorcs2 gene will often lead to an ADHD diagnosis, not all of the cases can be blamed on this gene alone. Nevertheless, Nykjær hopes that his discovery will lead to the development of more effective medicine.

"If we know the exact chemical processes that lead to a syndrome like ADHD, we have a better chance of developing medicine to treat the brain disorder," he said.



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