Science Questions

Is ADHD hereditary?

Fri, 19th Apr 2013

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Paying attention to ADHD

Question

Courtney Lilly O’Neal asked:

Is ADHD hereditary and if so, by how much, and which genes are involved?

Answer

Sam -   Possibly, up to 60% or 70% of the expression of ADHD has to do with genes.  Probably, there's many genes that each confer a small risk of developing ADHD.  So, if you have many of these genes, you might be at heightened risk. 

The kind of genes that we find to be involved are those involved in brain function such as genes involved in the noradrenaline system and genes involved in the dopamine system.  These are two chemical systems in the brain that help to regulate our cognitive abilities such as our ability to concentrate on things or supress impulsive behaviours.

 

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