Here is the latest news on genetic disorders. According to a latest research on the subject, compared to other kids, children affected with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are twice more prone to have an absent or additional chromosomes in the brain.
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During the course of the new study undertaken by British scientists, the researchers did a comparative study of the genomes of 366 white British children in the age group of five to 17 years having ADHD with those of over a 1,000 normal children - kids not suffering from this disorder. During their research, the scientists concentrated and examined a series of genes related to the development of the brain which were earlier related to conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia.
It may be noted that the study was funded by the European Union, Action Research, the Wellcome Trust, Baily Thomas Charitable Trust, and Britain's Medical Research Council. The findings of the research were published online recently in Lancet, the popular and renowned medical journal.
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While examining the children who were not affected by ADHD, the scientists found that approximately seven per cent of them had obliterated or twice over chromosomes in the gene sequence analyzed by them. However, it was found that around 14 per cent of the children enduring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder had such genetic variations. In addition, the researchers also discovered that as many as 36 per cent of the children partaking in the study, who have been enduring learning incapacity, suffered from the chromosome abnormalities.
According to Anita Thapar, an author of the study and a professor at the MRC Centre (Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics) at the Cardiff University, this is the first instance when scientists have detected children enduring ADHD possess large portions of DNA which are missing or replicated. Thapar said that the findings of the study are just in preliminary stages and should not change or affect the diagnosis or treatment of children enduring similar conditions. In addition, she said that the results of the research were only applicable to persons who were of European or Caucasian origin since members of other ethnic groups were not included in the study.
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What is alarming is the fact that ADHD is projected to distress several millions of children worldwide and since long, scientists were of the impression that the disorder was a result of a genetic element. According to medical experts in the United States, approximately three to five per cent of the school-going children are affected by attention deficient hyperactivity disorder in America. However, there is no precise or rough estimate regarding the number of children suffering from this disorder in the developing countries.
It may be mentioned here that a professor of molecular neuroscience at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, Peter Burbach, was actually astonished to discover a number of genetic imperfections in children enduring ADHD were similar to those in patients suffering from schizophrenia and autism. It is important to note that the professor was in no way associated with the research findings published in Lancet.
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Burbach further said that it is very possible that the environment is altering these genes. At the same time, he pointed out that these genes could result in numerous brain problems based on things such as the upbringing of a child as well as additional genetic issues. The professor is also of the belief that some day the scientists may also be able to turn around attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
According to Burbach, ADHD cannot be called a structural anomaly in the brain, but simply that the final stage of the brain's development has been abnormal or erroneous. He concluded saying that the treatment of ADHD may be as simple as fine tuning the brain - this could well cure people from this cerebral disorder.
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Meanwhile, a professor of molecular psychiatry at the King's College of London's Institute of Psychiatry, Philip Asherson is of the view that although the study only took care of a subset of ADHD patients, the situation still ought to be mulled over as a cause. Citing the instance of Romanian orphans, the professor of molecular psychiatry said that there was evidence that severe deprivation in the initial stages of life may also result in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and added neurological disorders.
Contrary to the views of Peter Burbach, Philip Asherson is of the view that it will still take several years for the medical world to cure or correct attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
According to Asherson, the study undertaken by the British scientists fails to explain what ever is happening inside the brain of the patients enduring ADHD. At the same time, he emphasized that if the scientists are able to detect additional information regarding these genes and the manner in which they influence the development of the brain, it may perhaps provide them with new headways. However, it is really difficult to predict when that can be achieved, he said.