Environment or Genetics? The ADHD conflict continues

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http://newideas.net/genetic-causes-adhd-cardiff-study

According to this article, a research team believes they have found a genetic link for ADHD. In a genetic study they did, 15% of the kids diagnosed with ADHD had significant differences in their DNA as opposed to 7% of the control group (kids without ADHD). The main problem with this data is that 85% of the kids diagnosed with ADHD do not have a clear difference in their DNA. This would show that the problem could be partially genetic, but there is a clear nurture side to it. The argument given by the article is that the current ADHD screening isn't as thorough as it could be and that many other disorders are being diagnosed as ADHD. While this could be the case, until there is further evidence to back it up, I agree that ADHD is probably caused more by environmental factors than genetic. The rate of kids diagnosed with ADHD without the DNA difference (85%) is just too high to ignore. Until it is clearly shown that many of the kids diagnosed with ADHD do not have the disease, the environment argument seems more scientifically sound than the genetic argument to me.

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I've noticed a lot of news reports and articles that are about ADHD being overdiagnosed. I believe environment has a lot to do with the development of ADHD especially at young ages when the brain is developing. Since children spend most of their time either with their family at home or in school, I would be curious to know how much of a factor school size has to do with it. I'm not sure what part of the environment would lead kids to develop ADHD but maybe being in a large class where there is a high student teacher ratio may be part of the cause (especially in pre k-3rd grade). With less one on one time with the teacher and more time to be distracted by fellow classmates may cause some children to develop a lack of concentration, organization, and initiative to finish tasks.

Just a thought...

I too have noticed various news articles suggesting that ADHD is over-diagnosed in kids. So this, with the 85% that didn't have a known genetic connection, leads me to believe that ADHD has more to do with environment that it does genetics. So while certain genes may increase the probability of one to have ADHD, it is my believe that ADHD comes from certain parenting styles. Since when kids are young their brains are very fragile certain parenting styles may lead to the development of ADHD as a form of attention seeking by the child. School size/ class size of the child in their early years of education may also have an impact of the development of ADHD. Although I would venture a guess that parenting has more of an effect. It would be interesting to see a study comparing the two to see which truly has a bigger impact.

I disagree that a large contributing factor of ADHD is a child's environment during early development. While some children may be affected by their family and schooling, studies have shown that certain genes, like Dopamine, are linked to the disorder. Furthermore, twin and adoption studies have proven ADHD to be highly heritable. I have to agree with the fact that testing for ADHD is not at the level it should be. This could definitely be the reason why 85% of the children diagnosed do not have a clear difference in their DNA. So, taking all of this into consideration, I think that ADHD is a genetic disorder that needs to be very carefully tested before a child is diagnosed.

I both disagree and agree with your blog entry. As some one who was diagnosed with ADD before it was delegated to just ADHD I have seen the whole debate play out. I definitely believe ADHD is often mis-diagnosed and many people who are diagnosed with it today have attention problems related to there natural home environment. I also know that many people on my dads side of my family suffer including my dad from ADD related educational difficulties just like I have had in the past, however my own problems were also related to Dyslexia which I was diagnosed with after being diagnosed with ADD. I think it is hard for doctors to diagnose learning disabilities and as a result many doctors use ADHD as a blanket diagnoses so it is a mis-diagnoses of deeper learning problems. That being said I had special-ed classes in elementary and middle school with other ADHD students and it is my opinion that many of them were cases of the nurture argument, honestly with a little more discipline and parental help I think they could have overcome there problems. The hyper activity part of ADHD is sometimes just normal hyper-ness, but that is my opinion.

I have a lot of different thoughts about this article. I think parenting styles do have a great deal of impact, but I also think that genetics and nutrition have a lot to do with it as well. Our generation is extremely unhealthy as it is, and the chemicals in a lot of the foods we are feeding people have very negative effects, both physical and mental. Diseases have been affected by these chemicals, and as I have learned in my Biology class, some genetic diseases caused by mutations in DNA are not activated until a person intakes a chemical or agitates the disease by getting a certain virus, or something of the sort. I realize that a lot of brain disorders are different from much of the other parts of the body, and are not as simply defined as a heard disease for example, or sickle cell anemia. How people (especially children) are treated can greatly determine their behavior later in life, and many children these days are spoiled and with all the video games and instant entertainment at everyone's fingertips, it's no wonder they don't have a very long attention span. Also, I agree with the previous comments stating that the testing systems should be zeroed in more to specific disorders. Psychiatrists should also be more careful at how many medications they prescribe to children especially because if the testing systems are not as directed as they should be, children are prescribed medications that just blanket over many other types of disorders. I'm not quite sure if this all makes sense, but those are just some of my thoughts.

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This page contains a single entry by trac0106 published on February 5, 2012 10:39 PM.

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