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Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

Genetic risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with age-related cognitive deterioration and the development of signs of Alzheimer's disease later in life, according to a study appearing this week in Molecular Psychiatry. Aiming to investigate a proposed link between ADHD and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, a team led by scientists from the US and Brazil calculated an ADHD polygenic risk score (PRS) for 212 cognitively unimpaired older adults. Importantly, a range of data were available for the individuals including MRI brain scans, baseline amyloid-beta and tau levels measured on PET scans and in cerebrospinal fluid, and six years of cognitive assessments. The researchers show that a high AHDH PRS was associated with greater cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer's disease brain pathophysiology over six years. The link between ADHD and Alzheimer's disease, the study's authors add, was mostly observed in amyloid-beta-positive individuals, suggesting that the genetic liability for ADHD increases susceptibility to the harmful effects of amyloid-beta pathology