Queensland Brain Institute neuroscientists are hoping to study more than 600 families, as they work towards identifying risk genes for the disorder.
Researchers believe that inherited genes could be responsible for cognitive problems that cause ADHD – and so far their results look promising.
“Our preliminary analyses show promising leads with a number of genes that are important for chemical signalling in the brain, such as those regulating noradrenaline. Noradrenaline is important for ADHD as many common drug treatments for ADHD act via this chemical system,” lead researcher Assoc. Professor Mark Bellgrove said.
“However, to be confident in our findings we need to recruit more families in order to be able to see if our results replicate.”
Working in collaboration with researchers at the Mater Children’s Hospital Brisbane and the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, researchers have already interviewed more than 250 families affected by ADHD. However for the study to be a success, they must meet with at least another 350 adults and children with the disorder.
People who take part will be required to give a small saliva sample from which DNA can be taken. Participants will also complete questionnaires and computerised attention tests, and some participants may also be asked to have a brain scan at The University of Queensland. All travel costs associated with participating will be reimbursed.
“The genetic work is just part of our overall programme of work into ADHD,” explained Dr Bellgrove.
“We are also particularly interested in hearing from adults who have ADHD and might be interested in participating in a trial to measure the extent to which medications can improve brain activity underlying attention.”
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