Danish Data Propel International ADHD Genetics Study

demontis børglum
Ditte Demontis, Anders Børglum.
Photo: Lars Kruse

A new study that draws heavily on health register and genomic research from Denmark has identified the first genetic risk factors for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Scientists led by Ditte Demontis and Anders Børglum of the University of Aarhus, along with their collaborators at many institutions in a number of Nordic and other countries, conducted a genome-wide association study on more than 20,000 people with ADHD and 35,000 without the diagnosis. 

"This time we really expanded the number of study subjects substantially, increasing the power to obtain conclusive results significantly. In particular, we included a large number from the Danish iPSYCH cohort representing more than 2/3 of the total international study sample,” said Demontis. iPSYCH is the largest study of risk factors for mental illness in the world.

Despite the high heritability of ADHD, researchers have not previously had sufficiently large studies to identify genetic factors. In their Nature Genetics article, the researchers report finding twelve locations in the genome that appear to harbor genetic variants that each slightly increase the risk for ADHD.

Read the full press release at the iPSYCH website, and the paper at Nature Genetics (subscription required). 

Discovery of the first genome-wide significant risk loci for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Demontis D, Walters RK, Martin J, Mattheisen M, Als TD, Agerbo E, Baldursson G, Belliveau R, Bybjerg-Grauholm J, Bækvad-Hansen M, Cerrato F, Chambert K, Churchhouse C, Dumont A, Eriksson N, Gandal M, Goldstein JI, Grasby KL, Grove J, Gudmundsson OO, Hansen CS, Hauberg ME, Hollegaard MV, Howrigan DP, Huang H, Maller JB, Martin AR, Martin NG, Moran J, Pallesen J, Palmer DS, Pedersen CB, Pedersen MG, Poterba T, Poulsen JB, Ripke S, Robinson EB, Satterstrom FK, Stefansson H, Stevens C, Turley P, Walters GB, Won H, Wright MJ; ADHD Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC); Early Lifecourse & Genetic Epidemiology (EAGLE) Consortium; 23andMe Research Team, Andreassen OA, Asherson P, Burton CL, Boomsma DI, Cormand B, Dalsgaard S, Franke B, Gelernter J, Geschwind D, Hakonarson H, Haavik J, Kranzler HR, Kuntsi J, Langley K, Lesch KP, Middeldorp C, Reif A, Rohde LA, Roussos P, Schachar R, Sklar P, Sonuga-Barke EJS, Sullivan PF, Thapar A, Tung JY, Waldman ID, Medland SE, Stefansson K, Nordentoft M, Hougaard DM, Werge T, Mors O, Mortensen PB, Daly MJ, Faraone SV, Børglum AD, Neale BM. Nat Genet. 2018 Nov 26. doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0269-7. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID: 30478444