Genetic finding explains link between ADHD and lower life expectancy

He attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) It manifests itself in childhood, but often does not disappear during adulthood, so it has important effects on people who suffer from it. In addition, the results of previous epidemiological studies have revealed that ADHD is associated with decreased longevity and up to five times higher mortality than people without the disorder. Now, a new investigation led by Spanish scientists has identified for the first time 19 genetic regions what are they simultaneously associated with ADHD and a shorter life expectancy.

The new study is the result of the collaboration of researchers from the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute (IISPV), the Pere Mata Institute University Hospital, the Mental Health CIBER (CIBERSAM), the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) and the University of California, and their findings have been published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

To find genetic variants – changes in the genome – related to ADHD and life expectancy, the researchers combined the results of two genome-wide association studies (GWAS). They analyzed genetic data from 19,099 ADHD patients and 34,194 healthy people, and used data from about a million people to assess life expectancy.

“The genes involved in ADHD may also be related to other biological processes that influence health and life span”

The researchers identified 19 genetic regions associated with ADHD and life expectancy. “For the first time, this study identifies genes associated with both ADHD and decreased life expectancy, which may help explain previous epidemiological observations of increased mortality in patients with this disorder,” says the researcher. Dr. Maria Soler Artigasresearcher in the Psychiatry, Mental Health and Addictions group at VHIR and CIBERSAM.

Early diagnosis of ADHD, key to reducing mortality

Among the identified genes stands out TNKSwhich plays a key role in maintaining the telomeres, a part of the chromosomes that influences longevity and that is related to other psychiatric traits and metabolic disorders that frequently appear in patients with ADHD. The AKAP6 and SEMA6D genes have also been identified, which had previously been associated with other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, or the SYPL2 and HMG20A genes, which have an important role in the control of different brain functions. “An interesting discovery is that all the genetic variants that increase the risk of ADHD simultaneously reduce the length of life,” explains Gerard Muntané, a researcher at the IISPV, the Pere Mata Institute University Hospital and CIBERSAM.

Among the reasons that could explain the increase in mortality among people with ADHD, researchers have highlighted the risk behaviors that these patients usually present. “ADHD can make patients more prone to challenging or risky behaviors that lead to more accidents,” says Dr. Dr. Josep Antoni Ramos Quirogahead of the Psychiatry Service of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and of the VHIR Psychiatry, Mental Health and Addictions group and CIBERSAM researcher.

These people also tend to have a greater tendency to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, which includes habits such as smoking or having an inadequate diet, which are factors that contribute to the development of other pathologies, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, which in turn , can reduce life expectancy.

The authors of the paper have highlighted that the risk of premature death also depends on the age of ADHD diagnosis and point out that people who are diagnosed in adulthood have a higher risk of mortality compared to those who were diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. “Early diagnosis is key to help us monitor and monitor patients early to avoid their entry into a negative trajectory that could end with higher mortality,” explains Dr. Marta Ribasés, researcher in the Psychiatry, Health group. Mental Health and Addictions of VHIR and CIBERSAM.

“Our research provides new evidence that the genes involved in ADHD may also be related to other biological processes that influence health and life span”, concludes Dr. Gerard Muntané.

Fuente: Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR


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