ADHD linked to interaction of genetics and psychology

April 16, 2010

ADHD may be caused by alterations in the serotonin neurotransmission system combined with a tendency to experience psychosocial distress. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions found that ADHD behaviors in children and adolescents were associated with interactions between low and high serotonin activity and self-blame in relation to inter-parental conflict.

Molly Nikolas, from Michigan State University, USA, worked with a team of researchers to study a key serotonin genetic region, 5HTTLPR, and the tendency for children to blame themselves for parental arguments in 304 youths. They found that those children who reported more self-blame, and had variants of the region associated with both high and low serotonergic activity, had more ADHD symptoms.

According to the authors, "To date, studies have mostly focused on the effects of genetic and environmental influences on ADHD separately. Our work examines the interaction between a specific and a family environmental risk factor in order to determine their roles in the development of ADHD via behavioral and emotional dysregulation in children".

5HTTLPR is a functional genetic region responsible for regulating the production of a protein that transports the neurotransmitter ; it has previously been linked to a range of neuropsychiatric disorders and . Tendency to self-blame was assessed by questionnaire. The authors stated, "Overall, these results complement growing evidence suggesting that 5HTTLPR variants confer a liability for ADHD that is activated in particular environments, rather than conferring risk for directly".

Explore further: Better ADHD screening is developed

More information: Gene x environment interactions for ADHD: synergistic effect of 5HTTLPR genotype and youth appraisals of inter-parental conflict, Molly Nikolas, Karen Friderici, Irwin Waldman, Katherine Jernigan and Joel T. Nigg, Behavioral and Brain Functions (in press), www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/

Related Stories

Better ADHD screening is developed

July 25, 2006

U.S. researchers say they have improved screening techniques for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder among substance users.

Studies examine genetic determinants of ADHD

January 7, 2009

A special issue of American Journal of Medical Genetics (AJMG): Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics presents a comprehensive overview of the latest progress in genetic research of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ...

Study links ADHD with sleep problems in adolescents

May 1, 2009

A study in the May 1 issue of the journal SLEEP shows that adolescents with a childhood diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are more likely to have current and lifetime sleep problems and disorders, ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jenstate
not rated yet Apr 27, 2010
This would certainly hold true for my brother. He has a learning disability and unfortunately our childhood situation only made things worse. I live in a town with a Brain Balance facility. I hear from many parents in our area that they are doing great work with ADHD and spectrum disorders. For anyone who has a child suffering, please take a look. I've been to an informational meeting because my daughter has SPD. http://brainbalancecenters.com

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.