Monday, March 11, 2013

Genetic Links to ADHD

A new study recently published in the Lancet, British medical journal, reported that an international group of scientists have identified some genetic links between several conditions: ADHD, autism, depression, manic-depression (bi-polar), and schizophrenia. This could help explain the reason that some of these diagnoses seem to cluster in families. Smoller, a psychiatry professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, explained that the portions of the genome identified (that appeared to increase the risk for these five conditions) also seemed to be involved in how calcium channels operate in the brain, which impact how brain cells communicate. The exciting news is that putting this information together raises the possibility that treatments targeting those calcium channels might have a positive impact on the brain. I was discussing this with a cousin and her comment was, “And we thought it was all in our head!” Well, it is! The good news is that since depressive disorders have been identified somewhat frequently in my own maternal line, this information may help to explain the commonality. And even better, it may eventually provide more effective treatments.

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