22 Nov ADHD: Heritability of Structural and Functional Brain Connectivity in Families
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gustavo Sudre, PhD
Section on Neurobehavioral Clinical Research, Social and Behavioral Research Branch
National Human Genome Research Institute
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: ADHD is the most common childhood neuropsychiatric disorder, affecting 7-9% of school age children. It is highly heritable (h2=0.7), but few risk genes have been identified. In this study, we aimed to provide quantitative brain-based phenotypes to accelerate gene discovery and understanding.
ADHD is increasingly viewed as resulting from anomalies of the brain’s connectome. The connectome is comprised of the structural connectome (white matter tracts joining different brain regions) and the functional connectome (networks of synchronized functional activity supporting cognition). Here, we identified features of the connectome that are both heritable and associated with ADHD symptoms.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This observational study evaluated 24 multigenerational extended families and 52 nuclear families. The most heritable features were part of the attention and default mode networks and the white matter tracts that lie within them. Several features of the connectome were also associated with symptoms of ADHD.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: This is an initial but vital stage for the use of the facets of the connectome as a phenotype. The next step is to ask which genes drive this heritability and confer risk for ADHD.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Sudre G, Choudhuri S, Szekely E, Bonner T, Goduni E, Sharp W, Shaw P. Estimating the Heritability of Structural and Functional Brain Connectivity in Families Affected by Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 16, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.3072
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