Study unveils genetic variants and prenatal factors linked to an increased risk of obesity and ADHD

According to a study in Translational Psychiatry, researchers uncovered certain genetic variants and prenatal factors linked to an increased risk of developing obesity and ADHD.

“We examined both genetic and prenatal evidence for causality using Mendelian Randomisation (MR) and polygenic risk scores (PRS). We conducted bi-directional MR on ADHD liability and six obesity-related traits using summary statistics from the largest available meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies,” the authors stated in their findings.

“We also examined the shared genetic aetiology between ADHD symptoms (inattention and hyperactivity) and body mass index (BMI) by PRS association analysis using longitudinal data from Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986.”

“Lastly, we examined the impact of the prenatal environment by association analysis of maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and offspring ADHD symptoms, adjusted for PRS of both traits, in NFBC1986 dataset.”

Based on the findings, researchers indicated how children whose mothers had abnormal pre-pregnancy body mass index were at a higher risk of ADHD. There were also genetic variants that served as predispositions to both obesity and ADHD.

“Our results support the hypothesis that the co-occurrence between ADHD and obesity has both genetic and prenatal origins,” the authors explained in their findings.

“Our results reinforce the importance of maternal overweight/obesity prior to pregnancy as a time for the promotion of health not only for an immediate, but for a trans-generational benefit.”

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