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Determining if there is a Genetic Link Between Anxiety and ADHD

Graduation Year
Student review
I think I learned a lot more than I expected to about the topic.

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Project description

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been prevalent for many years and is one of the most researched neurological/neurodevelopmental disorders. Although the cause(s) for ADHD are still unidentified, recent research has shown that genetics can play a key contributing role (superscript 1). ADHD tends to be diagnosed during childhood but the disability can be carried on well into adulthood. ADHD has an extremely high heritability rate of 74%, which, in part, is due to polygenic components with common variants, and the rare insertions and deletion of variants. Similarly, Anxiety is another very common mental disorder and can also be diagnosed during childhood. Anxiety disorders involve dysfunction in brain circuits that respond to danger (superscript 2). Anxiety and ADHD have a significant impact on the lives of many patients around the world who suffer from both conditions. The purpose of this research paper is 1) to demonstrate that these two disorders can be comorbid 2) to show that the risk of the disorders can be influenced by genetic link/factors and 3) how gene editing such as CRISPR can be used for treatment. Recent genetic studies have found a link between the two disorders, however, although there is a direct correlation between ADHD and anxiety, it does not imply a direct causation between the two. Findings suggest that the development of comorbidity stems from the symptoms of ADHD which may lead to the development of anxiety. From a research study of the prevalence of anxiety in ADHD patients, it was discovered that 23.1% of people with ADHD also were associated with generalized anxiety disorder. ADHD includes at least two genes and when it combines with environmental factors influences, it can be a very complex disorder. Various studies have consistently shown that there is evidence of an association between ADHD and a dopamine D4 receptor gene VNTR and a dopamine D5 receptor gene microsatellite marker. However, with the genome editing (CRISPR) discovery in the last 10 years or so, there is an opportunity and great chance for modifying the DNA to remove the mutated part of the gene for the potential treatment of this genetic disorder.

Determining if there is a Genetic Link Between Anxiety and ADHD
Project outcome

This paper is in the process of being published.

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Medicine, Biology, Engineering, Neuroscience, Business
Neurobiology of substance abuse, cancer biology, genetics/genomics
Mentor review

Michael was very helpful when it came to answering my questions and guiding me through a brand new process.

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