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Rare gene variants linked to ADHD

Missing or added genes also cause other brain disorders

3:44pm, August 10, 2011

Rare genetic factors that lead to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder appear to be some of the same ones that cause autism, schizophrenia and other brain disorders.

Previous studies have attempted – and mostly failed – to link common genetic variants to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD. A new study bolsters the idea that many different rare variants, some found only in single families or individuals, are responsible for the condition. What’s more, variants of the same genes associated with ADHD have also been linked to autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and intellectual disability.

“This really gives substance to the argument that there are shared genetic links between neuropsychiatric disorders,” says child psychiatrist Russell Schachar of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, who led the study with Stephen Scherer, a geneticist at the hospital.

ADHD is one of t

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