Environmental factors in ADHD
Professor Philip Shaw discusses research that indicates very few environmental factors that very directly cause ADHD, though there may be many gene-environment interactions.
The role of the environment in ADHD has really attracted a lot of interest. There are several things we know are definitely associated with ADHD. Lead is a very good example. High levels of lead in the environment and high levels of lead in the blood are very clearly associated with ADHD. There are also prenatal factors, like if a mom smokes, for example. The risk of the child having ADHD is greatly increased. And that is particularly the case if the child has a certain genotype or gene makeup. There are lots of different genes which influence ADHD. One of them is of the dopamine transporter. It is called the DAT gene, and if a kid has a certain form of the DAT gene and mom smokes, their risk of having ADHD is very, very elevated indeed. So thatâ€™s a good example of how environmental risks interact with the genotype of the child. Other ones that are very well known are dietary factors. These are much more controversial, but there is certainly a good very large study from Southampton that shows that some food additives and colorants may have a very slight effect on the level of hyperactivity in all kids. This isnâ€™t just ADHD. Itâ€™s not that itâ€™s going to cause ADHD, but a lot of food additives and colorants may well have a slight effect in making a child a little bit more hyperactive. But I think, though, with some very big exceptions such as lead, there are very few environmental factors that very directly cause ADHD. It seems to be they have a complex interaction with the genetic makeup of the child, and just as it takes lots of genes to make up ADHD, so there may well be lots of different environmental factors involved.
adhd, environmental, factor, dietary, diet, prenatal, dopamine, transporter, dat, genotype, environment, interaction, philip, shaw
An overview of ADHD-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
An overview of attention-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
New research implicates genetically altered dopamine transporters in ADHD.
Professor Philip Shaw links an association between ADHD and dopamine receptors, which may relate to brain development.
Doctor Randy Blakely discusses the potential role of the dopamine transporter (DAT) as one element of a complex protein network in ADHD and bipolar disorder.
The dopamine transporter gene (DAT1/SLC6A3) is a membrane-spanning protein that mediates the reuptake of dopamine from the synapse. It has been associated with bipolar disorder and ADHD.
All children have occasional trouble paying attention or suppressing their impulses. ADHD is a chronic condition, however, and its main symptoms have a larger effect on people’s lives.
Doctor Randy Blakely discusses the association between the dopamine transporter and ADHD, and discusses a possible relationship with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Professor Philip Shaw discusses some medications use to treat ADHD, which lead to improvements in up to 90% of children.
Purpose: iPlant's "Genotype to Phenotype" Grand Challenge generates computational tools to help scientists understand gene and environment interaction.