ADHD and the Smoking Gene

Posted on October 31 2012

For some time there has been a correlation between children with attention deficit hyper disorder (ADHD) and cigarette smoking. Those affected are twice as likely to pick up the habit in comparison to children without the disorder. A new Canadian study indicates that a smoking related genetic marker increases the risk of childhood ADHD. To collect data, researchers surveyed 454 children age 6 to 12 years reviewing five variations of DNA located within specific genes related to smoking.  These genes influence smoking behaviors in different ways including how much a person smokes daily, the age smoking starts, and various other factors. Their findings show that one of the specific genes related to the quantity of cigarettes smoked daily was also closely related to ADHD behaviors. The study also focused on the children’s mothers who were divided into two groups, moms who smoked during pregnancy and those who did not. After reviewing the mother’s DNA sequence for the same genes, researchers found that regardless of smoking during pregnancy, if a mother had the triggering allele in their genes their children also did. This finding ruled out environmental exposure from cigarette smoking while pregnant as being a trigger. The correlation is strictly a genetic problem. Kids who suffer from ADHD generally have immense difficulty concentrating and completing tasks that require “brain power,” and are more likely to have behavioral problems. Children with the inherited allele have increased risk of developing ADHD and smoking. Researchers state that all of their findings are preliminary and they plan to run another study to gather more data. However, the study indicates that smoking during pregnancy is likely not the cause of why a new smoker is born, but rather an inherited gene linked to smoking and ADHD.   Sources: Time Health and Family - Medical News Today - MedPage Today -


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