The latest research into the genes involved in ADHD and dementia suggests the genetic link between the two disorders is stronger than previously thought.
The study was published online this week in the journal Science Advances.
It found that people who have more beta-alanine in their brains have more problems with ADHD and less ability to control their symptoms, according to the findings of the research by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University at Buffalo in New York.
This new study suggests the gene, called the beta-amyloid peptide (AAPP), is more prevalent in those with the disorder than previously known.
“This is the first study to show a genetic association with the AAPP,” said Dr. Roberta S. Wray, the study’s lead author and a professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern.
“It is really exciting because the AAP gene is one of the first genes that we have identified that has been associated with ADHD, but the first genetic association that we found that linked the two.”
Wray and her colleagues looked at the genetic makeup of more than 9,000 people in the U.S. over the age of 18 and compared it to the genomes of people with ADHD.
“People with ADHD have the lowest levels of beta-AML and a high level of AAPP, which is what we’re interested in,” Wray said.
“And people with AAPP have the highest levels of the beta amino acid.”
The researchers used DNA samples from people with more than 5,000 different medical conditions, including schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, autism, Huntington’s disease and diabetes.
The researchers looked at genes that control beta-aminobutyric acid (BABA), which is a substance that helps regulate the release of beta amyloid.
The researchers compared the genetic variants in the people with the two conditions.
They found that the genes associated with the ADHD disorder were more prevalent among those with beta-AAP.
The genetic variants associated with dementia, on the other hand, were more common in people with AD.
“Beta-AAML is a protein that binds to AAPP and plays a role in memory,” W. David Hwang, one of Wray’s co-authors, said in a statement.
“Beta-BABA is also a protein involved in AAPP release, which we believe could be important in regulating the activity of the brain.”
David Wray/University of Texas at Southwestern Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences/U.S., The College of Medicine, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Houston.
“There are lots of people who are at risk for dementia and a lot of people are at high risk for ADHD,” Wary said.
But “we also see this association for those who have beta-Amyloid.”
Researchers were able to identify about a third of the people in this study as having an AAPP mutation that led to beta-amyloid.
These people were also more likely to have schizophrenia, dementia and diabetes, Wray noted.
The research team also found that some of these genetic variants were associated with other psychiatric disorders, like depression, substance abuse and anxiety.
Wray said it’s possible that people with these conditions could develop the AAML gene mutation that makes them more susceptible to these diseases.
“Our findings suggest that it may be the genetic variant that causes AD,” Way said.
“It may be that people are more likely, because they are more susceptible, to developing the disease,” Wawy added.
Wary added that the findings could be particularly relevant to older adults who have the disease, because it could also help them manage other medical conditions that could affect their cognitive abilities.
“I think it’s a very exciting discovery because it gives us a better understanding of what we are talking about in terms of AD,” she said.WRAY’S COMPETES FOR THE BRAIN Wray is one half of the team that published the first paper to identify a link between AD and the AAMP gene.
Her work on AD and AAPP is also published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
She has also studied the genetics of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington’s.
“We have very few genetic studies that have identified the genetic causes of dementia, but we know that there is some genetic variation that is related to AD and other diseases,” she told CBS News.
“We are looking at that now to understand the molecular mechanisms of AD.”
The findings come at a time when researchers are trying to identify the genes that contribute to the progression of Alzheimer or other neuropsychiatric disorders.
A recent study of more 2,000 Americans found that many people who developed dementia have AAPP mutations, but only a few of those people had an elevated risk of the disorder.
“As you can imagine, there is a lot to be learned from this study and that is why it is important for people to