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Study: Genetic Risk for ADHD Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, Cognitive Decline

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December 22, 2022Older adults with a genetic risk for ADHD may be more susceptible to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).1 These results, published recently in Molecular Psychiatry, shed light on ADHD-related vulnerability to cognitive impairments as people age.The ADHD polygenic risk score (ADHD-PRS) “represents the combined genetic liability for the disorder” and “is highly associated with ADHD diagnosis and related traits in independent clinical and population samples.” Researchers found that a higher ADHD-PRS was associated with greater decline of cognitive performance and memory impairment over time, and persistent executive function deficits compared to participant baselines.

Study participants included adults aged 55 to 90 without a clinical diagnosis for ADHD or cognitive impairments.The Preclinical Alzheimer’s Cognitive Composite (PACC) detects early signs of decline in cognitive function and was adapted to the current study.

An association between higher ADHD-PRS and decreased PACC scores over time was observed in amyloid-β- (Aβ) positive individuals (35.4% of participants) using PET scans.

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