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ADHD is a genetic condition, study says
September 29th, 2010
06:30 PM ET

ADHD is a genetic condition, study says

A new study in the Lancet provides the first direct evidence that genetic abnormalities are responsible for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD.

Although previous research had shown that ADHD can be inherited, no specific genes have been identified before that seem to underlie this condition. But that doesn't mean that someone with these particular genetic markers will have ADHD, experts say.

"This tells us that there is a biological marker that tells us that this person is susceptible to develop this disease," said Dr. Robert Marion, chief of genetics and developmental medicine at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

Researchers led by Dr. Nigel Williams at the Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales fully analyzed data from 366 children with ADHD and 1,047 who did not have ADHD.

The Lancet study finds that children with ADHD have more large, rare copy-number variants than children without the condition. "Copy-number variants" are pieces of DNA that are either missing or extraneous in the chromosomes. Other studies have suggested that these variants may be associated with schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Specifically, this study suggests a shared biological basis between ADHD and autism because of the shared genetic characteristics found in this study. Researchers also found genetic overlaps with schizophrenia.

""Eventually we’re going to be able to do testing that will identify susceptibility to ADHD or other conditions," Marion said.

But that test won't be available any time soon, especially because there appear to be a large number of variations in DNA that predispose a person to ADHD, Marion said.

The results suggest that ADHD is "not purely a social construct," the study authors wrote. "It’s a real hard and true disorder," Marion added.

On the other hand, this doesn't rule out environmental factors, Marion said. It may be that specific environments determine whether a person with these genetic variations goes on to develop ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, or nothing at all. However, scientists do not yet know precisely what those factors are.

In the future, as more becomes known about the genetics of ADHD, interventions may be tailored toward specific children before they begin to have serious problems in school, Marion said.

The study's "results are exciting, but how these findings will be clinically translated is still speculative," writes J. Peter Burbach, of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, in a Comment in the journal. More research should be done to further examine the associations between these genes and their outcomes.

ADHD has caused a great deal of controversy as parents struggle to appropriately treat their children.

Given that there may be nearly 1 million misdiagnoses of ADHD in the United States, a better grip on the biological basis of it may help mental health professionals distinguish ADHD from other problems.


soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. larkwoodgirl

    90% if all babies born prematurely (as early as 25 weeks) have ADHD. It has nothing to do with heredity.

    September 30, 2010 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jim

    Once I hired a high school graduate in a state sponsored "hire the handicapped" program. Once I said I was interested in participating the mentioned a specific person they had in mind. What's his handicap? I asked. He's ADHD. Well he must have been misdiagnosed because he turned out to be a really intelligent kid who blossomed when given the opportunity to pursue his interests. I believe that a lot (I didn't say all) of cases of ADHD are misdiagnosed and are just really intelligent kids who are bore sh*tless with school. That characterization certainly applied to me and to two of my children and, so far, two grandchildren. I have three none school age grandchildren who I expect are headed for the same problem because so far they are bright beyond their years and run their mother ragged.

    September 30, 2010 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 2+2=5

    You should feel satisfied that you just gave a few hundred people great excuses for their child's behavior. Now, let's hand them legal cocaine and watch them miss growth spurts then we can really watch what a depressed confused kid looks like. You people make me sick. Funny, they say they know so little about the brain, they see a color light up and they say hey, he is depressed. Great research, let me know when your done playing games. As a kid I was full of energy, great at sports, always outgoing, I wouldn't have changed that for the world, all these kids walking through the halls like zombies sure aren't getting much out of their childhood that's for damn sure. Whole thing is insane. Keep it up and see where it leads. Eventually we will look back and realize how dumb WE were. Like everything else in life. Lazy and apathy on part of the kid and parent don't equal drugs. Been there done that. Think about it. Trust me, they hate you more for summing there life up in four letters. Keep up the good work.

    September 30, 2010 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Nan

    I have 2 children that are ADD. Both were NEVER behavior problems in school (their teachers loved them!), but both had learning disabilities from it. The youngest had it the worst. At the age of 15 he had his first seizure. Now at 18, he's had more and is now on Kepra and cannot drive. My husband has ADD, and has never been treated. But, the man also has a doctorate, so ADD does not keep someone from learning, although I have to admit, he had to work twice as hard at focusing on his work than someone without it. Until you are the parent of two beautiful boys with this ailment and have to face the heartbreak of one with a seizure disorder, please try to put some kindness in the comments. To me, trying to help my child with seizures is just as important as what they were able to do for my mother with breast cancer.

    September 30, 2010 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. NYC MOM

    We were told that our son had ADHD, but knew that he was capable of intense concentration and focus when he was not in school. He did not adapt well to traditional learning settings. We refused to medicate him. Over the years, he had poor grades, and came to hate school, again because he could not focus in group settings. He did not have a "disease," but rather was ill-suited, emotionally and neurologically, for the school status quo. The "symptoms of ADHD seemed to shift as we told his teachers and school administrators that, e.g., he was planning and executing complex projects - art, music, Lego - at home; we were told that this, too, mysteriously, was an ADHD symptom. Never once did the schools suggests that some kids just can't do school. Our son is now in college and on Dean's list. With the help of a therapist - no drugs - he developed study and learning techniques to deal with the classroom. This took time; he took a year off after high school. At about 20, he had sufficiently matured so that he could analyze the problem and address it. He never had a disease, although I'm sure that some kids do. ADHD is, however, way, way, way overdiagnosed. Don't drug your kids; our sons tell us that every kid he knows who took Ritalin is now (1) drug dependent; (2) immature, (3) has poor impulse control and (4) still not performing at school or work.

    September 30, 2010 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Peter Melzer

    Neurodevelopmental disorders are the result of the interaction between the environment and genes. Dozens of rare gene copy number variants seem associated with autism, schizophrenia, and now ADHD. Only some are known to be involved in the shaping of connections between nerve cells. However, the findings of this and other genomic studies of this type only point at associations. Causality remains to be established. At best they indicate a predisposition and do not allow us to understand why this variants affect some parts of the brain and not others.

    Read more about genes and neurodevelopment disorders here:
    brainmindinst.blogspot.com/2008/04/autism-schizophrenia-time.html

    September 30, 2010 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. bsrga

    For those of you who do not have first hand knowledge of this condition – butt out! You have no idea how heart breaking this condition can be when it is one of your children. I believe this article is right on it and it's about time. As to why you never heard of this 50 years ago, have you ever heard the terms "idled", "retarded" or "special"? Do you remember state institutes such as juevenile detention, boot camps, and mental wards? 50 years ago when children had problems there were ways to deal with them – just lock them away and pretend they didn't exist. They would either stay there forever, or be released and get into some real trouble and be locked away again, etc. This condition is real. It is not easy on the child or the parents. It's called life. Get one!

    September 30, 2010 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Confused in Atlanta

    Wasn't it the Lancet who also tied autism and vaccines? Then later had to do a 180 and back off that.
    Mmmmmmm.....Yeah, okay. Science is always fact, until its proven wrong. Then, it was just misleading information.
    Worth a ponder?

    September 30, 2010 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. roesler

    You hit the nail on the head John T............If we could move back to the old ways and ignore quacks like Dr, Spock, (who did more to help destroy this Country than most people realize) we would be in much better shape. ABSOLUTELY RIGHT It's all about discipline and spending quality time with your kids. I have 5 kids and a step daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD. The 5 that live with us are polite, considerate and well mannered. We get complimented on them all the time. My step daughter is a walking nightmare when she first arrives for the summer. But a "miracle" somehow occurs within the first week. She is expected to obey the rules and get along with the others clean up after herself, do her fair share of chores...ect. Something unheard of at her house. By the time she leaves a complete transformation seems to have taken place and no one wants to see her go.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Joe

    Let me say this I believe it does exist do I think everyone has it absolutely not. Many psychiatrists are lazy and will give out a diagnosis using the DSM manuals. These manuals are based on observed behavior. Its much like the drug commercials do you feel this way or that way well you shouldn't take such and such drug and feel better. The fact is "normal" is based on majority rules. If 55 people in a room are wearing a blue shirt and 45 are wearing red then blue would be the "normal" color. Psychology is the same way it is based off of observations of what is considered normal and abnormal behavior. The world is changing, people are changing, common sense is gone, logical critical thinking is drying up. We have become a society that embraces drama and conflict. We use social networks and instant notification systems for instant gratification and when we don't get that instant gratification we act badly. My point here is that anyone can be diagnosed with some sort of disorder in the DSM manual. The fact is the DSM manual isn't with the times it doesn't take into account the political and environmental influences that shape the way we act and think.

    I do believe however ADD if you want to label it that and ADHD is a learned response and an inherited trait. When young kids are put in front of a television all day, video games, computers, then go to school and have all sorts of pictures in their textbooks of animals on the page pointing at their math problems. All sorts of visual stimulization for the brain. They are hammered with it all day all night, when they go to sleep the mind does not rest because its still trying to process everything they have taken in all day. i.e. They dream about their video games and actually playing them. Eventually as they get older it leads to a disinterest and disconnect with society and with anything that does not provide stimuli for the brain. This leads to depression, drug use, alcohol abuse, and other destructive behaviors because they are quite literally bored of life. It also makes it impossible for them to read and understand regular hand written or typed contracts because they cannot focus long enough their attention span is 10 seconds or less. SO they just sign on the dotted line not reading all the legalese and understanding it and the implications it holds. This is why you have problems with mortgages, credit cards etc.. Its only going to get worse, and with society never taking responsibility these days they blame everyone else for their downfall. Having a short attention span and ADD like behavior allows someone to multitask and they can be a workoholic if they are appreciated at their job. Would you hire someone that can only do 1 job function or someone who could do the job of 2 or 3 people. I DID do the job of 3 – 4 people at a previous job literally. I took on average 100 calls per day in call center on an 8 hr shift the expected rate was about 30 calls per 8 hr shift with very few callbacks. Think about it a multitasking worker is a perfect worker for corporations. The only hard part is keeping them focused which means giving them a solid goal or making them challenege themselves daily (I challenged myself everyday to take more calls and find faster ways to help people to keep my interest in the job) Hire a hyper person get the work of multiple people done with one person. I am diagnosed with ADD however I can tell you the lest time I spend with high stimuli things and the more time I spend working out at the gym and concentrating the less problem I have focusing on things. Food is another factor as well I limit my intake of anything with corn syrup, Aspartame or Splenda. Its all bad for you. Corn Syrup may even be partially to blame for the upswing of ADD. Over stimulated and then given a sugar high on top of it nothing like a double whammy! My advice get your kids away from the "interactive learning" limit their time on video games and television, make them go outside and play, limit their social network activity or prohibit it all together. Give them a proper diet too don't feed them frozen dinners, McDonalds or other fast food, try to stay as fresh food as possible, hot dogs mac and cheese are very bad loaded with salt and hot dogs are loaded with nitrosamines (very bad). Try it for 4 weeks if your kids currently under treatment or you believe they have ADD. Their are numerous studies that now show after 3 years anti depression and ADD medications are ineffective. Also these drugs will eat your teeth, some of them cause insulin dependent diabetes such as Seroquel(Quetiapine)and other mood stablizer classification drugs that may be used to treat ADD or Depression.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Joe

    Let me say this I believe it does exist do I think everyone has it absolutely not. Many psychiatrists are lazy and will give out a diagnosis using the DSM manuals. These manuals are based on observed behavior. Its much like the drug commercials do you feel this way or that way well you shouldn't take such and such drug and feel better. The fact is "normal" is based on majority rules. If 55 people in a room are wearing a blue shirt and 45 are wearing red then blue would be the "normal" color. Psychology is the same way it is based off of observations of what is considered normal and abnormal behavior. The world is changing, people are changing, common sense is gone, logical critical thinking is drying up. We have become a society that embraces drama and conflict. We use social networks and instant notification systems for instant gratification and when we don't get that instant gratification we act badly. My point here is that anyone can be diagnosed with some sort of disorder in the DSM manual. The fact is the DSM manual isn't with the times it doesn't take into account the political and environmental influences that shape the way we act and think.

    I do believe however ADD if you want to label it that and ADHD is a learned response and an inherited trait. When young kids are put in front of a television all day, video games, computers, then go to school and have all sorts of pictures in their textbooks of animals on the page pointing at their math problems. All sorts of visual stimulization for the brain. They are hammered with it all day all night, when they go to sleep the mind does not rest because its still trying to process everything they have taken in all day. i.e. They dream about their video games and actually playing them. Eventually as they get older it leads to a disinterest and disconnect with society and with anything that does not provide stimuli for the brain. This leads to depression, drug use, alcohol abuse, and other destructive behaviors because they are quite literally bored of life. It also makes it impossible for them to read and understand regular hand written or typed contracts because they cannot focus long enough their attention span is 10 seconds or less. SO they just sign on the dotted line not reading all the legalese and understanding it and the implications it holds. This is why you have problems with mortgages, credit cards etc.. Its only going to get worse, and with society never taking responsibility these days they blame everyone else for their downfall. Having a short attention span and ADD like behavior allows someone to multitask and they can be a workoholic if they are appreciated at their job. Would you hire someone that can only do 1 job function or someone who could do the job of 2 or 3 people. I DID do the job of 3 – 4 people at a previous job literally. I took on average 100 calls per day in call center on an 8 hr shift the expected rate was about 30 calls per 8 hr shift with very few callbacks. Think about it a multitasking worker is a perfect worker for corporations. The only hard part is keeping them focused which means giving them a solid goal or making them challenege themselves daily (I challenged myself everyday to take more calls and find faster ways to help people to keep my interest in the job) Hire a hyper person get the work of multiple people done with one person. I am diagnosed with ADD however I can tell you the lest time I spend with high stimuli things and the more time I spend working out at the gym and concentrating the less problem I have focusing on things. Food is another factor as well I limit my intake of anything with corn syrup, Aspartame or Splenda. Its all bad for you. Corn Syrup may even be partially to blame for the upswing of ADD. Over stimulated and then given a sugar high on top of it nothing like a double whammy! My advice get your kids away from the "interactive learning" limit their time on video games and television, make them go outside and play, limit their social network activity or prohibit it all together. Give them a proper diet too don't feed them frozen dinners, McDonalds or other fast food, try to stay as fresh food as possible, hot dogs mac and cheese are very bad loaded with salt and hot dogs are loaded with nitrosamines (very bad). Try it for 4 weeks if your kids currently under treatment or you believe they have ADD. Their are numerous studies that now show after 3 years anti depression and ADD medications are ineffective. Also these drugs will eat your teeth, some of them cause insulin dependent diabetes such as Seroquel(Quetiapine)and other mood stablizer classification drugs that may be used to treat ADD or Depression...

    September 30, 2010 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LuvNLife

    Only those who live with, or are raising, someone with ADHD fully understand the impact it has on lives. ADHD is not something one chooses to have, nor is it a "designer label". It is a neurological disabillity that people struggle with every day of their lives. My son was diagnosed as a very young infant. I can assure you I have been actively involved in raising him, and putting very strict parameters on his life. While it doesn't diminish the severity of his struggles, it has taught him how to maintain some semblance of control in his decision-making processes. Different types of medicine were introduced, but in the end, behavior modification seemed to be the best course of treatment. This is a lifelong struggle. Please do not insult those who suffer from this disability with your rude and ignorant comments. Get better informed and try to make a difference.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Joe

    Also I will say people who have ADD are usually highly intelligent in a key area or several areas. They usually do very well in anything art related, performance related (music , theater, comedy) or engineering (rebuilding engines, building buildings) usually its things that are hands on that they excel at or anything that consistently challenges the mind but its not an impossible challenge otherwise fustration and outbursts will set in. I wonder sometimes if ADD was a designed diagnosis for people who can multitask and multimthread their thinking (think about several things at once) versus people who can only think about one thing at a time and cannot flip back and forth to many subjects in a conversation and still pick up where they lft off 5 subjects ago. I wonder if it was designed to put down the multitasking multithinkers people (ADD) because they are usually quite a threat to a non ADD person. Hence why many have problems at school and their job. Whenevr you do something better and faster then someone or your just a natural at it someone will be threatened and will try to do anything to impede your progress. Maybe its a diagnosis to make the more advanced of the human civilization feel inadequate... just a thought

    September 30, 2010 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. STW

    I am really astonished by people inconsiderate nature of people. How can you be so sure that something is or isn't true? I have ADHD in one of its forms- I was not diagnosed until I was 19 because I was a quiet, polite child in school. The trouble was in the ability to keep a direct train of thought and in reading- making my school work spotty even though the knowledge was there. I am now a successful PhD student who has gone off my medication for the first time so that I can start a family without drug interference. My husband was with many of you and doubted ADHD until he saw me for the first time off my Concerta- I am still able to do my research but only by working extremely hard and with practiced knowledge of how to treat my disorder without drugs. I have no doubt it is over diagnosed and medicated (especially in children), but I promise it is real with real consequences on the lives of the person and their friends and family. Having people dismiss what you struggle with as manufactured only contributes to the frustration people struggling with it feel. Your beliefs are your own, and I would never deny you your, but please give others the same respect.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Nancy

    I concur with Joseph. I as a medical professional also call BS. In molecular biology, especially when it comes to matters of the brain, there are no definitive tests for measuring brain chemicals nor markers. If one clearly reads the article it says "no specific genes have been identified before that seem to underlie this condition....that this person is susceptible to develop this disease" Keywords are "no definitive tests and susceptible to develop". The same goes with a host of other brain "disorders" (DSMIV) in which brain chemicals "are thought" to play a role.

    I have a simple solution. Change your childs diet, get plenty of rest and excercise and I am 90% sure you will notice a significant change in behavior. Keep this in mind before placing your child on unecessary and possibly dangerous medication with a multitude of side effects. Thank You.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Seph Bay

    My god! This article is absolutely full of nonsense:
    1. Why do these people think ADHD is a disease? Maybe it's the so-called "normal" education system that has the problems.

    2. The article wrote, ""Copy-number variants" are pieces of DNA that are either missing or extraneous in the chromosomes." DNA studies are so new, who are these pseudo-quasi scientists to say that DNA must conform? There will always be variants. Biological diversity is what makes life rich on this planet.

    3. Why does CNN even publish this speculative crap?

    September 30, 2010 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Merin

    John T, you could not be more wrong. Unfortunately, it sounds like your son was one of the many misdiagnosed children we hear about every day. Just because he has been shown not to have this disorder, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Once I was advised I had cancer, turns out they were wrong. Weird thing is, cancer is a real disease anyway!

    September 30, 2010 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. clueless

    I find it interesting how you seem so knowledgeable about the subject, yet you slam people with mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, adhd and others as having the inability to have high functioning positions and live "normal", sociable lives. As if there is something wrong with the way their brain developed thanks to what you so ignorantly say is environmental or other factors. Mood disorders, many and most often times are chemical, as are some cases of depression and MUST be treated chemically – not just environmentally. It is terribly sad that you insinuate that these people are either completely dysfunctional or "less functional" (aw, the poor bastards) in life. Whereas someone – that you obviously consider yourself to be – "normal" and highly functional and wonderful would have a normal functioning, productive life thanks to the many wonderful offerings or blessings you had in life versus what others may have had. (You just got lucky.) Many people have posted here that they have "ADHD" and are highly productive and living normal lives. And I would wager that people born with with chemical mood disorders, such as Bipolar Disorder (who are properly medicated vs. those who are not) or who have depression, would say the same thing to your prejudiced comments. What you say is no more prejudiced than a racial slur. Keep your ignorant comments to yourself.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jay

    I think all research is worth it in some way or another. No ADHD will not kill you .. but to live with it and the depression and all that comes along with it is devistating none the less.. to say one research is more important over another is heartless..

    September 30, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Shanyn Nelson

    Contrary to popular belief, we are not all lazy parents. We do not believe that medicine is a "cure", we are educated and spend quality time with our children. To "ass"ume or make the assertion that a child with ADD/ADHD is the result of lazy parent(s) is ridiculous at best. After quite a few years of struggle, I made the choice to medicate my child with a very low dose of Focalin so that she could function during the school day. She does not have behavior issues but suffers from primary inattentive ADD that has nothing to do with bad parenting skills or lack of discipliine. Prior to medicating her, it was a daily struggle for myself and my daughter who could not understand why she felt the need to walk around the classroom and had trouble concentrating. This led to low self esteem on her part. We exhauted our options (reminders, post it notes, help from the teacher and any other thing we could think of) and finally chose medicine Now that she is medicated during the day, her schoolwork is outstanding and she takes pride in her accomplishments. We were always proud of her no matter what but we are ecstatic that she now has pride in herself. If that means that she NEEDS a low dose of medicine so that we can provide/she can achieve the foundation necessary for a good education and a succesful life then I am all for that. Oh, and by the way, my husband is a life-long sufferer from ADD. He is succesful and happy, very smart (often a characteristic of those with ADD) but struggles more than the average person to accomplish his goals. Don't knock it until you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. crazypants

    This is just an excuse for parents to have kids that misbehave. They need to be smacked and told to cut out the act.
    Plain and simple.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Reality check

    I know many children that are diagnosed.. that have been raised horribly.. their parenst together or divorced all with some sort of disability have raised them to be wild – giving them junk food and soda, yelling and calling them names.. do these children have ADD/ADHD? Maybe.. or maybe they are a product of their envirnment.. BUT I also know a child who has been diagnosed who has loving parents who give him attention.. who feed him healthy .. a child who gets a good nights rest.. what about that child? What does he have?

    September 30, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Alexandra

    I have two sons and two step-sons. Three of them are very intelligent, one is a bit slower. Two of them are very sporty. Two of them are confident, the other two less so. One is vain. One is very artistic. They are all very good looking 😉 But only one has ADHD. I am a tertiary educated stay-at-home hands-on doting mum and I do not doubt my parenting (in that regard) and I can assure you, as can my son, as can his three brothers, as can his friends and teachers and everyone who knows him – ADHD exists. My son is not hyperactive, but mentally, he is EXCEPTIONALLY hyper. He does things differently. He is different. Good different, but different. He's bright, loving, funny, compassionate, generous, beautiful and he's different. And if I ignored his problem I would be failing him as a mother. Anyone who has a child coping or attempting to cope with ADHD knows the truth.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jannette

      Congratulations on being a good mother! The people on this board that don't recognize it are insensitive and perhaps afraid that they or someone the know could "have it". My husband's Aunt and Uncle refused to believe their son was ADHD. "There's nothing wrong with him!". They didn't want to recognize it becuase they saw it as a reflection of their parenting skills. He was in trouble with the law many times and was responsible for a man's death from lingering injuries from an auto accident. He spent 6 months in jail, was on probation and got in trouble again. The judge had told him he he saw him again, he was going away for good. He committed suicide the day before he was to go to court again. Such a sad waste of a life. I encourage you to read Dr. Lynn Weiss' book, "Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults". I've been using this book and it has helped tremendously. She has a different take on ADD and sees it a a spectrum disorder with others having more or fewer symptoms. I feel so much better about myself. I now take meds and I grieve the loss of all the time I wasted because of the untreated ADD. I'm not ashamed of it anymore. I just have to be selective as to whom I talk to about it, because like so many of the people on this board, have no first-hand knowledge but yet are so quick to judge. Best of luck with your very luckly sons!

      September 30, 2010 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
  24. crazypants

    Genetic? Buiishlt.
    the kids need to cut out the act and stop misbahaving.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr.Speed

      I tell ya what there Einstein...
      Hows about taking my son for 6 weeks during the school year.
      We will do away with his meds just for you and see how long it takes you to ask for his meds.
      You see I too was an idiot just like your self and then I realized that no matter how much I try to
      discipline this child he will not do his work in school because his inablility to focus is simply not there.

      September 30, 2010 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
  25. Nancy

    I also found the post by KBD of interst. As a person who says she has ADD she admits this herself, and I quote "but because we have to be taught the way the system says I will take my meds finish school and then be able to take on the world."

    So in other words conform little sheep. Just a reminder, college is not a guarantee for success in life. I stand by my analysis that nutrition (especially with our over processed foods), our sedentary lifestyles and our hectic lifestyles all play a part in our behavior and reaction to the world around us. I too thought I was going crazy. One day I did go crazy, I quit my 5am-8pm job. I left the bumper to bumper stress of the city. I started my own business and now I work when I want, have 3 beautiful children and enjoy life and it's surroundings as nature intended. While this might seem impossible for some you'll always have that nice little pill you can take so you too can "be taught the way the system says"

    September 30, 2010 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Michele

    Get the kids off the computers and away from the television...have them do lots of vigorous outdoor play and hard work and voila..problem solved. Its our society thats the problem..not the kids!! It's not a genetic disorder, it's a problem with what we as a society has decided kids do everyday....sitting in a classroom, watching television and playing on the computer are the problem.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DBINVA

    People who think clinical depression and ADHD are BS, are like flat earthers. You can believe what you want. I remember when I was diagnosed (as and adult) with clinical depression after exhibiting all the symptoms. I told the doctor he was full of it. My life was wonderful. What did I have to be depressed about? I grew up being told that psychologists were quacks. I eventually went on the meds and my family noticed a HUGE difference. But thanks to people who think that just because their neighbor's/sister's/brother's/friend's bratty/emo kid was diagnosed and it was a crock, going to the doctor for an evaluation still carries a stigma. Right now the Army is trying to convince soldiers that it's okay to get counseling, but many won't because of such attitudes. The results? More suicides. If you don't have the condition, butt out. Go back to thinking the universe revolves around the sun–and you.

    September 30, 2010 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jannette

      You are so right! Just becase it's not a problem for you, doesn't mean it does not exist. If we could do better, we would. These people are the ones that think it's still a good idea to spank your children.

      September 30, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
  28. Donovan

    The next generation will have HDADHD, high def attention deficit disorder

    September 30, 2010 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. crazypants

    genetic? BS
    Cut the act out and start behaving. They need to get a good lickin'. thats the problem

    September 30, 2010 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. DavidMichael

    They had to do research to figure out this runs in families? I am 47 with ADHD. I took an online test and failed with flying colors and announced to my spouse that I had ADHD in which my spouse responded with an extremely sarcastic "NOOOOO!" My Brother 52 and sister 55 also have rip roaring ADHD. My son as well as a few nephews and nieces have ADHD as well. Unmedicated one nephew played with tools and accidentally cut off a couple of fingers, my son landed in the hospital with injuries because of impulsiveness. My son was medicated for years until he said he no longer needed it. All successfully managed through college.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AdultsHvADD2

      Did you notice that Doctors call it a desease as if yu can catch it or develope it because you are suseptable to getting it. Get a clue Doctors. The research was done 20-25 years ago. It's not AIids or Chicken Pox.....ADD or ADHD is a Nurological condition that you are born with period. Or you can suffer Nurological Trauma to your Brain in an accident causing you to develope ADD or ADHD. How ADD/HD works is that we take information in by hearing, seeing, and by touch. As we use or eyes to see, this visual information is taken in through our Frontal Lobes of our Brain, and when we hear something, the auditory information enters through our Temporal Lobes. The information that comes through our Frontal and Temporal Lobes then travells through the Blood Stream via Nuro-Transmitters to the main part of your Brain where this information can be processed, and stored in the Brain's short and long term memory. When communicating information, it's a similar process but instead of receiving information, you are verbally communicating the information that was processed and stored. OK, that is how your Brain is supposed to work. Children and Adults with ADD/HD have problems or deficits where not all of the information that comes through visually or auditorily from the Frontal and Temporal Lobes gets processed, meaning that there are not enough Nuro-Transmitters to cary the information to the Main Processing Center of your Brain. Therefore, you will generally have a Larger Right Hemisphere in your Brain, and a Smaller Left Brain Henmisphere causing you to be often more Creative in the Arts, Sports, and Music. Many CEO's in Corporate America have been diagnosed or found to have ADD/HD, because what do CEO's do? They hire people to do all the things they can't, and hire an Executive Secretary to manage the CEO to keep him or her on task with their daily schedule. ADD/HD people are usually good orators. Again, if you are born with this condition, then you can get treatment i.e. counseling preferably done by a Nuro-Phsycologist who specializes in treating ADD/HD. Contrary to what some Phsyciatrists MD who treat children with ADD/HD believe, the Nurological Dissorder doesn't go away. Be careful, because some Doctors think they are smart, but are really stupid, because how could your Brain that yu were born with which is wired a certain way all of a sudden change whe you become an adult thus a child's supposedly grows out of the condition or desease known as ADD/HD. Your Brain doesn't change, but you as an ADD/HD Childt can develope coping mechenisms that will help you avoid being put in a situation where your deficits are going to cause you to fail in School, friends, romance, work, and life in general. Learning Disabilities are usually almost always associated with ADD/HD. I recently had a Phsyciatrist MD tell me that I had Bi-Polar Dissorder. I checked the medication I have been taking for ADD, and found all of the very light symptoms that this MD used to diagnose me with Bi-Polar Dissorder. This of course was at the VA Medical Center by a Resident following his Attending Physitian who once previously specialized in treating Children with ADD/HD. Well, there goes your example of Obama-Care. The VA is the only example we have. Without digressing further, only get tested by specialists who have experience, and don't let the school Pshycoligist be the only one to diagnose your kid, and if you are an Adult, then make sure they don't treat you like a kid, and force them to communicate with you about their diagnosis, and treatment, and why they want to use that treatment. Second opinions are sometimes necessary. Some cultures or Immigrants from some countries don't beleive this condition exists, and especially men who are Immigrants will be too Macho to think that there is something wrong with them or their children. I call this Ethnic Male Macho Syndrome. So Wives and Mothers married to a Hispanic, Middle-Eastern, or African Husband, you may have to encourage testing to be done by getting reading material on the subject from the Web, Library, or Book Store.

      September 30, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
  31. DavidMichael

    EVOC, As you are likely aware, all those illnesses are interrelated. Many of the same illnesses run in my family.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. EngineerWithADD

    Wow. I can't believe some of the hate spewed here. Decades ago ADD/ADHD was underdiagnosed, particularly in girls and those that didn't start fights. I was lucky in that I was very smart, so I learned fast and didn't need to concentrate much, and I had loving, understanding parents. I was 30 before I was diagnosed–years after my education culminated in an MS from MIT. But how much easier my life would have been if I had been diagnosed earlier and given ways to cope, whether through therapy or medication, when I felt like I was losing my mind. I probably wouldn't have beat myself up so much thinking I just lacked discipline. And if I hadn't been beating myself up over it I probably would have suffered much less from the stress that led to stomach and depression issues. I now take the smallest dose possible of Concerta and learned new ways to cope. Adding that small dose has changed my life so much that I no longer need hefty doses of acid reducers and antidepressants. Until you've walked a mile in my shoes, you have no right to judge.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Sara Schnorr

    Contrary to the popular misconception (evidenced by many of the comments above) that ADHD is but a "mere" medical diagnosis du jour used to placate families whose children aver very hyperactive and hard to control, ADHD actually has a substantial effect on a child's executive function and other neuro-biological and developmental skills.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. DrNowell.com

    Very helpful to remind parents and teachers of the neurological basis of ADHD behaviors. But the headline "ADHD is a Genetic Condition" is over-reaching. Genetics are one of several risk factors for those will develop significant ADD/ADHD challenges. The BBC medical correspondent does a nice job of addressing this: http://bbc.in/cnwk7p

    September 30, 2010 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Ryan

    While im not going to get involved in a medical research ethics argument here, i will say that i would like to see who funded the bulk of this "study."

    September 30, 2010 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Korreon Goodwin

    Nerds

    September 30, 2010 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. LP

    Has everyone ever tried Lecithin to treat ADD/ADHD? It is a natural vitamin. A teacher recommended it and it is wonderful for our son. It helps him focus.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Mike, a guy with real ADHD

    I've had ADHD since I went to that first visit to a doctor with my parents (who are both doctors, thanks). You people who call it heresy are the equivalent of people who originally thought there were real witches. Just because it is not immediately recognizable on the outside doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Let me make you aware of some of my symptoms (I am a 25 year old male):

    -I cannot focus on a task, unless it interests me. And if I am currently performing a task, and come across a word or subject that interests me, I immediately start researching / googling it, (that is only if my current task is of minimal importance at the time)

    -Sometimes when I am thinking about something, I will start to think about something else. At times I will focus on this new idea so much that I will forget what it was that I was thinking about originally before the new idea or topic popped into my head, and I will not remember for 30 minutes.

    -I cannot sit still (big surprise there) unless once again, I am on a task that requires my full attention.

    -I used to have a tendency to interrupt conversations when I was growing up, but am now at a point in my life where that does not happen as much.

    Despite all of this, there are some VERY positive (yes I said positive...and yes I am breaking stereotypes brought on by fools who don't believe in ADHD):

    -the restlessness means I am constantly active, physically and mentally; by walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator (which you fat internet tough guys out there probably never do), getting up to walk to someones desk to talk to them, and various other activities I am able to maintain a high metabolism and a healthy body (I also watch what I eat). People think I look 20.

    -my metabolism is so high that I can eat 2800 calories a day for a week without gaining a pound. That is also because of the activity I mentioned above, combined with the fact that I eat healthy and exercise 3-5 times a week. For instance, this was my meal after working out: green beans, pepsi (not diet), 13 oz steak, yogurt, milk, and cookies - roughly 1200 calories.

    -the fact that I am extremely focused on whatever I am doing allows me to perform at work quite well, even though I am human and also make mistakes typing, messing things up. I do not leave until the task is done.

    -Although I had difficulty in school focusing, and never made honors or played any sports, I am more successful at my age than many of my closest friends that I know. In this crap economy that everyone complains about, I am making $55k a year in a town where the median family income is around $37k. The field? IT of course. And since I put my resume up two weeks ago, I have gotten 10 phone calls/emails about job openings.

    And for the rest of my family, here is something to chew on: my father and his wife are doctors, and so was my mother - until she became schizophrenic. My father had ADD, had the same problems I did with school, and is now one of the most successful doctors in his region. So to the throngs of people in here who don't believe in ADHD, I implore you to open your minds a bit - if that is even possible. It's not as bad as you may think

    September 30, 2010 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jannette

      Hey Mike, I too have all of your symptoms. My therapist recommened Dr. Lynn Weiss' book "Attention Deficit in Adults". It has heled me tremendously learn ways to cope with my ADD and embrace it as a gift. We are Big-Picture thinkers against the Linear thinkers. We are the inventors, the artists, the detectives, the sensitive people that make this world complete. Try it, it really helped me.

      September 30, 2010 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  39. LP

    Has anyone tried Lecithin it is an amazing natural vitamin? It was recommended by my son's teacher. Our son has ADD/ADHD and it helps him focus.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. kenni

    What i dont understand is some children are getting medicated in preschool or kindergarden... To me that is to early some children learn diffrently and saying they have adhd is why so many have been misdiognosed. I do belive adhd is real and medicine can help however in young children who never went to school before then medicating them does not allow them a chance to learn. I belive giving our children a chance before medicating them is what will help them. Id say after the 2nd grade at the earliest if there is still problems then possibly looking in to it.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MOM OF 3, 2 ADHD AND A POSSIBLE!

      I agree that is to early my kids doc didnt want to attempt testing until as first grade!

      September 30, 2010 at 10:00 | Report abuse |
  41. Yakjuggler

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????????? Well, DUH, let’s see, ADHD is genetic. When will start doing research on something worthwhile? ADHD was not environmental, or artificially induced...you need concrete evidence to show it is inherited? My God, how ignorant can you be? How about you find ou why SO many people are allergic to peanuts? Almost everyone ate peanut butter 40 years ago, and had no issues. Or maybe fight the increased Autism rate or allergy problems. ADHD is inherited? I'm in the wrong business. DUMB!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2010 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MOM OF 3, 2 ADHD AND A POSSIBLE!

      All of the issues that you named are important! My youngest cant eat peanut fish and eggs and just been diagnose with asthma. But adhd runs in my family. It is not an excuse I was against meds until the doc told me to give it a try and my kids went from d's and c's to A/B HONOR ROLL i will say that enough for me!!

      September 30, 2010 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
  42. MOM OF 3, 2 ADHD AND A POSSIBLE!

    I come from a family of ADHD's. Out of my grandma 5 kids 3 were ADHD. Out of my dad 6 (Im the oldest) 3 are ADHD, Out of my 3 kids my oldest two are ADHD and I know that my youngest will be also. When i was told that my oldest might need to be tested i was strongly against med. They doc told me just give it a try. My daughter went from D's and C's to A/B honor roll. and than again with my son. And yes my children do get discipline! But I think that was the best think for me to do! So it is not an excuse!

    September 30, 2010 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Paula

    I just love it when people who have no experience with ADHD whatsoever, speak as if are experts on it.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. John

    ADHD is caused by not disciplining your children and feeding them chicken McNuggets everyday.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Fourth Generation

    I'm 4th generation ADHD (that i know of) Some of my ADHD friends call it "the explorer gene". Restlessness, thinking "What if?" doing something no one else has done, these are all parts of the behavoir. I am medicated, My 16 year old is not (she convinced me she didn't need her meds, her grades are still OK so I said yes) My sister refused to medicate her son and he grew into adulthood with a set of problems that eventually killed him. I'm pro med but only if they work for the kid, family and school. Yes too many people are medicated but too many aren't.

    I was told growing up that mny "problem' was because I was from a "broken home" My mother was put into the 'hard to handle" class. My grandfather was just hit with a ruler. Who knows what was done to his dad or his siblings.

    I'm just very glad that there is info out there that it isn't just bad parenting or an environmental issue. Neuro scientists have done PET scans on ADHDer's and discovered that parts of their brain are different shaped, layers of tissues are thicker and transmittal from one area to another is poorer than so called normal brains. The most symptomatic ADHDer's in my family were the product of a difficult pregnancy or birth.. Is this a factor also? I am so glad that this issue is being researched.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. ConcernedMom

    Last year, my son was 7 and in 2nd grade was having a difficult time in school with listening, sitting still and temper & patience. His behavior was much worse at home, he used to read and play outside but now his time is spent running around the house and terrorizing and barrating everyone. In the past teachers would compliment him on how compassionate he was w/others and how smart he is and what a imaganitive writer he is but that all changed last year. The teacher wasn't very helpful either. The school then suggested that he go see a pschologists which can help us treat his behavior with behavioral mgmt and possible meds.
    My husband and I always showed him love and discipline when needed. At times, my son can be so mean to me (his mother) and he would cry and be MAD for no reason, it was hurtful and dumbfounding to us.
    The doctor said he showed clear signs of ADHD and prescribed him meds which we weren't very sure of but it was completely up to us. My husband and I were very apprehensive about giving him meds so we only started giving them to him before school. Needless to say they helped, along with the help of his school.
    My son is now 8 years old and the attitude and his nature seems to be getting worse and it's hurtful to us because he says he can't help it. But when he is on the medication he is more focused, calm and happy! Which makes us happy because he comes homes with stickers from his teacher and he is happy.
    My only concern is that I don't want to keep giving him the meds, I HOPE he grows out of this disorder or as he gets older he's able to control it himself.

    September 30, 2010 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yakjuggler

      Well, @ConcernedMom, I think you have your answer. Keep him on the medicine. It is not fair to him to have him say, "he can't help it.", then you go and not give something which CAN help him. I have friends who had a VERY similar child, and as the child got older, they grew out of some of the issues, but not all. They said they NEVER regretted giving their child medication, and the child thanked even them for helping them. Give your child a chance.

      September 30, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      If your child is happy, calm, functioning well and otherwise healthy, why are you so apprehensive about the medication? If he were diabetic, would you even hesitate to give him the medication he needed to be a functioning, happy child?

      I understand your concern, but truly, this sounds like an accurate diagnosis and a successful treatment.

      September 30, 2010 at 21:50 | Report abuse |
  47. James

    I was just diagnosed with ADHD and I am 47 years old. I started taking medication for it. The only problem, so far that I can tell, is I will become hooked to the medication. I have to say I feel a certain burst of energy at first, then it levels off. The first day on the medication was HORRIBLE. But since has gotten better. Always thought I had it. Just had to have a doctor confirm it...

    September 30, 2010 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Wendy Ainsworth

    Hunter Gatherer Brains – what you say is ADD/HD – no a different type of brain – not wrong or bad – maybe even better than
    Farmer Brains – A slow, methodical brain made for farming and slower activities

    September 30, 2010 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Yakjuggler

    People take ALL kinds of medication for Stress, pain, etc., at all kinds of doses. Now, we have a child with an issue and its up to good parenting? Once again, people are rivaling Q-tips for intelligence. Change lifestyle, regiment the daily grind, but when that does not work, diagnose and medicate if it’s the best route. When they get older, decide if there are other means to adjust the medication or routine. If you do not have to suffer as an adult, by taking medication, which many times is not necessary or abused, why make a child suffer who might benefit from medication?

    September 30, 2010 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Don-MN

    Wow, I thought it caused by social/economic environments.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.