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ADHD’s Genetic Basis Old News! Recent Research: “First Direct Genetic Link” (Maybe)

Posted Sep 30 2010 12:00am

The study’s lead investigator, Professor Anita Thapar, explains the important new research behind the headlines. Congratulations and gratitude go to the hardworking scientists who teased out this discovery.  As for the reporting of this research, ADHD Cyber Command  finds that some did better than others, especially in implying that until now we had no evidence that ADHD wasn’t caused by bad parenting or that this is the first news of a genetic link to ADHD.

What? You say you already knew that ADHD is highly genetic?  Of course you did.  I can’t account for the headlines, but it seems these news outlets missed a key adjective in Dr. Thapar’s explanation of her team’s research findings: direct, as in “the first direct genetic link.” But even that is being contested; stay tuned for more info on that.

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of how various news organizations covered the study, some of them as if stuck in a time warp from, oh, 30 years ago:

New Scientist:

Have gene findings taken the stigma from ADHD?

For the first time, evidence has emerged of genetic mutations linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But how strong is the link, and how far does the finding undermine claims that children with the condition are simply naughty kids, victims of bad parenting or driven to hyperactivity by dietary additives?

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