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Genetic testing and current pharmacological treatment options for ADHD

ADHD Genetic testing

To date, the cause of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is still unknown. However, it is theorized that both genetic and environmental factors play a crucial role. To find out if indeed genetic factor is one of the determinants in the causation of the disease, a group of scientists from Cardiff University School of Medicine and deCode Genetics in Iceland, among other research centers, implemented a case-control study wherein children were enrolled as participants and they were divided in two groups. One group was composed of 366 children proven to have ADHD, otherwise known as the case subjects, and the other group was composed of 1,047 children without the disease, known as the control subjects—thus giving birth to the term case-control study [1].

The study specifically looked at whether large deletions and duplications within the DNA, otherwise known as the copy number variants or CNVs, are more common in the case subjects than in the control subjects. If the answer is yes, then it is highly possible that the variants play a role in causing the condition, and thus, in turn, linking genetic factors in the causation. If the link is established, then the remaining job is to definitely and conclusively identify the genes responsible for it [1]. Scientists believe that at least two genes are involved in the causation of ADHD [2]. Continue reading

New treatments for ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neuropsychiatric medical problem whose main clinical manifestations are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Many years ago, it was recognized in children, and it was popularly believed for so many years that its occurrence was confined to that age group. In late 1980s and 1990s, however, researchers demonstrated  that it has been occurring, too, among adolescents and adults—with many of them undetected for several decades [1,3].

The prevalence of ADHD among children in the U.S. is approximately 9%, and this number holds true to other countries. More often than not, it is recognized among boys; however, it is also prevalent among girls, whose abnormal condition, most of the time,   escaped medical detection. Among adults, approximately 4-5% of them worldwide have been suffering from the said medical problem but remained undetected and untreated. To date, there has been no known definitive cause of ADHD; however, research results show that in the causation [1].

So far, much still remains to be desired for the treatment of ADHD. Hence, Alcobra Ltd., an Israeli pharmaceutical firm, took the initiative to manufacture a drug intended to treat ADHD. This drug is named Metadoxine Extended Release (MDX), and it is considered as the lead and primary drug of Alcobra, specifically highlighting and emphasizing the  claim that MDX is free of the abuse potential that other treatments for ADHD have [2]. Continue reading

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – A Historical Perspective of ADHD

The contemporary concept of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is widely described by the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) as a major cause of concern among children. The major manifestations of ADHD have been described in excessive hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive children, with the early etiological theories being similar to the current descriptions of ADHD. Since the nineteenth century, detailed studied focusing on the behaviors of hyperactive children with added knowledge on brain functions have resulted in better understanding of the inherent behavioral and neuropathological deficits underlying the disorder. Currently, most children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are identified based on their symptoms, with most of them being identified and treated in primary school.

Population studies have concluded that five percent of children across the globe elicit impaired attention levels, as well as hyperactivity. The studies have classified boys as suffering from ADHD as being approximately twice as frequently as girls and primary age children as being approximately twice as frequently as adolescents. The existence of ADHD symptoms is on a continuum in the general population, with the disorder being considered to a greater or lesser degree based on the identification, (e.g., parent or teacher), the perceived extent of functional impairment, the criteria used in diagnosing the condition, and the threshold chosen in defining the case under observation. Available literature indicates that developmentally inexcessive levels of inattention or overactivity and impulsive characteristics of ADHD are present among cases from an early age. However, among preschoolers with early signs of ADHD may also present with co-occurring oppositional noncompliant behaviors, temper tantrums and being overly aggressive that may overshadow symptoms of inattention and overactivity, consequently confounding the diagnosis.

, a psychiatrist who treats this condition in adults, “Inattentiveness tends to be less obvious in adults and often goes unnoticed to the untrained eye. Unfortunately, many physicians and those in the medical community are not convinced that ADHD continues well into adulthood.”

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