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The relationship between ADHD and key cognitive phenotypes is not mediated by shared familial effects with IQ

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2010

A. C. Wood
Affiliation:
MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK Department of Epidemiology and Section on Statistical Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
F. Rijsdijk
Affiliation:
MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
K. A. Johnson
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
P. Andreou
Affiliation:
MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
B. Albrecht
Affiliation:
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Göttingen, Germany
A. Arias-Vasquez
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Centre for Neuroscience, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
J. K. Buitelaar
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Centre for Neuroscience, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
G. McLoughlin
Affiliation:
MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
N. N. J. Rommelse
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Centre for Neuroscience, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
J. A. Sergeant
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
E. J. S. Sonuga-Barke
Affiliation:
Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory, University of Southampton, UK Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium
H. Uebel
Affiliation:
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Göttingen, Germany
J. J. van der Meere
Affiliation:
Department of Neuropsychology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
T. Banaschewski
Affiliation:
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany
M. Gill
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
I. Manor
Affiliation:
S. Herzog Memorial Hospital, Research Department, Jerusalem, Israel
A. Miranda
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Valencia, Spain
F. Mulas
Affiliation:
Department of Neuropediatrics, La Fe University Hospital, Valencia, Spain
R. D. Oades
Affiliation:
Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
H. Roeyers
Affiliation:
Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium
A. Rothenberger
Affiliation:
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Göttingen, Germany
H. C. Steinhausen
Affiliation:
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Zurich, Switzerland Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology, Institute of Psychology, University of Basel, Switzerland Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychiatric Hospital Aalborg, University Hospital Aarhus, Aalborg, Denmark
S. V. Faraone
Affiliation:
Department of Neuroscience, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA
P. Asherson
Affiliation:
MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
J. Kuntsi
Affiliation:
MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Background

Twin and sibling studies have identified specific cognitive phenotypes that may mediate the association between genes and the clinical symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is also associated with lower IQ scores. We aimed to investigate whether the familial association between measures of cognitive performance and the clinical diagnosis of ADHD is mediated through shared familial influences with IQ.

Method

Multivariate familial models were run on data from 1265 individuals aged 6–18 years, comprising 920 participants from ADHD sibling pairs and 345 control participants. Cognitive assessments included a four-choice reaction time (RT) task, a go/no-go task, a choice–delay task and an IQ assessment. The analyses focused on the cognitive variables of mean RT (MRT), RT variability (RTV), commission errors (CE), omission errors (OE) and choice impulsivity (CI).

Results

Significant familial association (rF) was confirmed between cognitive performance and both ADHD (rF=0.41–0.71) and IQ (rF=−0.25 to −0.49). The association between ADHD and cognitive performance was largely independent (80–87%) of any contribution from etiological factors shared with IQ. The exception was for CI, where 49% of the overlap could be accounted for by the familial variance underlying IQ.

Conclusions

The aetiological factors underlying lower IQ in ADHD seem to be distinct from those between ADHD and RT/error measures. This suggests that lower IQ does not account for the key cognitive impairments observed in ADHD. The results have implications for molecular genetic studies designed to identify genes involved in ADHD.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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