British scientists have found the first direct evidence that attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a genetic disorder, and they say their research eventually could lead to better treatments for the condition, Reuters reports. Researchers who scanned the gene maps of more than 1,400 children found those with ADHD were more likely than others to have small chunks of their DNA duplicated or missing. Anita Thapar, a professor psychiatry at Cardiff University who led the study, said the findings should help dispel the myths that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or high-sugar diets. “This is really exciting, because it gives us the first direct genetic link to ADHD. Now we can say with confidence that ADHD is a genetic disease and that the brains of children with this condition develop differently to those of other children,” she told reporters at a briefing about the findings. ADHD is one of the most common child mental disorders and is estimated to affect around 3 to 5 percent of children globally. It is seen far more often in boys than in girls. Children with ADHD are excessively restless, impulsive, and easily distracted, and often experience difficulties at home and in school. There is no cure, but the symptoms can be kept in check by a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. Thapar said the findings would help unravel ADHD’s biological basis, “and that’s going to be really important in the future to develop new and much more effective treatments.” But experts stressed that the DNA findings were unlikely to lead the development of a genetic test for ADHD, because a complex mix of genes and environment are likely to be the cause…

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