ADHD Genetic Risks Also Predict Milder Attention and Language Difficulties Interview with:
Joanna Martin, PhD student
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics
Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences,
Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Response: In this study, we found that genetic risks which are collectively important for ADHD diagnosis also predict higher levels of traits of hyperactivity/impulsiveness, inattention and  pragmatic language difficulties in childhood in the general population.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Response: That the genetic risks predict different types of developmental problems (e.g. language as well as concentration difficulties) in the general population.

Our results also suggest that levels of these problems in girls in the general population might be associated with a higher burden of genetic risk factors than traits in boys.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Our study and others suggest that rigorously diagnosed ADHD and milder levels of childhood development problems may share genetic risk factors.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It will be important to confirm the results in other population samples of children and to test whether other early childhood development problems (such as repetitive or stereotyped patterns of behaviours) are also associated with ADHD genetic risk.

It will also be important to find out what risks differentiate children with severe problems and a diagnosis from those who have milder problems in the general population.

Genetic Risk for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Contributes to Neurodevelopmental Traits in the General Population
Martin J1, Hamshere ML2, Stergiakouli E3, O’Donovan MC2, Thapar A2.
Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Oct 15;76(8):664-71. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.02.013. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Last Updated on October 17, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD