Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are a lot like one another. Both conditions might cause focusing issues in kids. They could have trouble communicating or patience. They might struggle academically and interpersonally. Or thrive academically but lack social skills.
The two diseases are different from one another despite having many of the same symptoms.
A group of connected developmental diseases known as autism spectrum disorders can have an impact on a person’s language development, conduct, social skills, and learning capacity. ADHD is a common condition that might affect your ability to focus, maintain your composure, or consider your actions before acting.
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How Genetics Play a Role in Causing ADHD and Autism
In a lot of cases, it’s believed that the genes you get from your parents play a key role in developing the disorder. ADHD tends to be hereditary and mostly runs in families.
According to research, people with ADHD are more likely to have family members who also have the disorder compared to those without it. However, the inheritance pattern for ADHD is probably complex and is not assumed to be due to a single genetic defect.
It is estimated that genetic factors account for 40 to 80 percent of the risk of ASD.
An individual’s probability of getting this complex disorder depends on a number of environmental risk factors, including delivery difficulties, parental age and other factors that are still unknown.
Contrarily, it is believed that rare gene mutations or chromosome abnormalities, which are frequently a component of syndromes that also entail multiple signs and symptoms affecting various regions of the body, are the source of the disorder in 2 to 4 percent of individuals with ASD.
What Studies Suggest
There are several similarities between ADHD and autism among the neurodevelopmental disorders: Autism and ADHD share a significant amount of shared genetic predispositions, making them two of the most prevalent child psychiatric diagnoses. Both conditions are also highly heritable, despite the fact that their core symptoms differ. In addition to seven genetic variants that are shared by both ADHD and autism, researchers have also identified five gene variants that are specific to only one of the two disorders.
The study’s principal investigator, Professor Anders Brglum of the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University and iPSYCH, Denmark’s largest psychiatric research project, says that they succeeded in isolating both shared genetic variants and genetic risk variants that are used to differentiate between the two developmental disorders.
Thus, we are starting to comprehend the molecular mechanisms underlying the emergence of both diagnoses – and this is completely novel – the mechanisms that drive the developmental abnormality precisely in the direction of either autism or ADHD.
The gene variations have an effect on the development and communication of the brain’s nerve cells. It is also interesting that some of the genetic differences found have an impact on the population’s cognitive abilities in general.
Researchers may have seen, for instance, that some genetic variations that only increase the risk of autism also increase people’s cognitive abilities, whereas complementary variants that only increase the risk of ADHD decrease people’s cognitive abilities.
Researchers have also identified a gene variant that raises the risk of autism while simultaneously reducing the volume of a specific brain region in the general population. In contrast, the complementary variant raises the risk of ADHD while simultaneously boosting the volume of the same brain region.
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