NOV 27, 2019 4:27 PM PST

ADHD and Autism Share the Same Genes

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Autism and ADHD share many symptoms. In fact, up to 80% of people with autism also meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Now, researchers from Denmark’s national psychiatric project, iPSYCH, have found that the similatities between the disorders doesn’t end there. From a comprehensive genetic analysis, they have found that they also share the same genetic mutations. 

The researchers were able to notice similarities between ADHD and autism by mapping out both genomes. In particular, they found the overlap when sequencing their exomes, the protein-coding regions of the genome, from dried blood samples taken from heel pricks during routine newborn screenings in Denmark. For the study, they analyzed samples taken from 3,962 people diagnosed with autism, 3,477 with ADHD, 901 with both conditions and 5,002 controls.

During their analysis, the researchers principly focused on truncating mutations in genes that are rarely present in the general population- a key sign that they may be harmful. In doing so, they found that these mutations are 1.4 times more frequent in those with autism and/or ADHD than control subjects. Supporting these findings, similar results were observed in two established cohorts of autistic people in the United States

Currently, the researchers are creating a list of mutated genes that occur among people with autism, ADHD, or both. So far, the most frequently mutated gene among people with the disorders is known as MAP1A gene. Mutated in 11 people with either or both conditions and none of the control subjects, the gene helps organize the cellular skeleton of neurons. 

Anders Børglum, principal investigator at iPSYCH and a professor at Aarhus University said, “We discovered an increased burden of mutations that destroy or severely affect the MAP1A gene in those with ADHD and autism, while very few of the control subjects had such changes in the gene."

Beate St. Pourcain, senior investigator at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen added, “This naturally begs the question (of) where the differences in the genetic architectures of (autism) and ADHD lie and whether the distinction between (autism) and ADHD is purely a genetic question after all.”


Sources: Medical Xpress and Spectrum News

 

About the Author
  • Science writer with a keen interest in behavioral biology, consciousness medicine and technology. Her current focus is how the interplay of these fields can create meaningful interactions, products and environments.
You May Also Like
MAY 03, 2021
Neuroscience
Researchers Use Live Human Neurons to Map How the Brain Works
MAY 03, 2021
Researchers Use Live Human Neurons to Map How the Brain Works
In a new study, researchers have identified previously unknown attributes of human neurons after being given rare access ...
MAY 15, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
New Weight Loss Drug Converts Energy-Storing Fat into Energy-Burning Fat
MAY 15, 2021
New Weight Loss Drug Converts Energy-Storing Fat into Energy-Burning Fat
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016, around 2 billion adults around the world were overweight ...
JUN 01, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Can Cannabis Help Manage Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
JUN 01, 2021
Can Cannabis Help Manage Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
As laws around cannabinoids continue to evolve, some people with chronic illnesses such as multiple sclerosis (MS), are ...
JUN 09, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Mechanism Linking Neurodegeneration & Brain Injury May Open Treatment Options
JUN 09, 2021
Mechanism Linking Neurodegeneration & Brain Injury May Open Treatment Options
Studies have shown that there is a link between blows to the head and neurodegeneration. Repeated head trauma is associa ...
JUN 22, 2021
Immunology
The Brain's Immune Protectors Come from an Unexpected Source: The Skull
JUN 22, 2021
The Brain's Immune Protectors Come from an Unexpected Source: The Skull
The immune system and the nervous system have a love-hate relationship. On one hand, immune protection is critical for s ...
JUN 24, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use in Young Adults May Be Linked to Suicidal Thoughts
JUN 24, 2021
Cannabis Use in Young Adults May Be Linked to Suicidal Thoughts
Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have found that cannabis use among young adults may be linked ...
Loading Comments...