December 05, 2019
Recent statistics indicate that 1 in 66 Canadian children are diagnosed with autism, and as many as 1 in 20 children are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADHD). These two conditions share common symptoms, despite being different developmental disorders.
New research from the Denmark’s iPSYCH project has now found a genetic explanation for this overlap in symptoms. The MAP1A gene is most commonly affected by mutations in those diagnosed with either autism or ADHD. This gene is important for brain development as it is involved in shaping the nerve cells’ physical structure. Control subjects in the study with neither diagnosis had very few mutations in the MAP1A gene, however, those with a diagnosis of autism or ADHD had increased rates of mutations that affected the functioning of the gene.
The fact that MAP1A mutations are found in many with an autism or ADHD diagnosis may help explain the similarity in some of the symptoms of the two conditions, such as impulsivity, difficulties at school, and aggressive behavior. This study, and other future studies that reveal similarities in the genomes of those diagnosed with these two conditions may help create a more comprehensive understanding of the biological causes of the conditions, and impact medical support that may one day be available.
Source: Medical Xpress
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