Scientists hunting for genetic links to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder say a mutation on an immune system gene may be tied to the behavior problem.
But some medical and mental health professionals warn parents about jumping to any conclusions.
“This is a really interesting academic discussion at this point but it is far too premature for families to have real excitement about any immediate impact for their own child,” says Dr. Tanya R. Anderson, chief of the clinical service system with the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health.
According to the research, published in the January issue of the journal, Molecular Psychology, the identified gene can be found in about 1 out of every 4 people and is disproportionately common in kids with ADHD. Researchers have found that while children diagnosed with ADHD are hyperactive, they don’t necessarily have attention deficit disorder and may be prescribed medication inappropriately.
Much more study is needed, Anderson says.
“Remember this is all still very theoretical. There is no blood test or genetic examination that anyone can do to identify who has or will get ADHD,” Anderson warns.