Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Martine Hoogman (Donders Series 105)

23 January 2013

Promotors: Prof. dr. J. Buitelaar, Prof. dr. B. Franke, Prof. dr. R. Cools

Imaging the effects of ADHD risk genes

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders in childhood. The disorder persists into adulthood in 15 % of these cases. Only very little is known about ADHD’s etiology. We do know however that ADHD is highly heritable, even more so for adult ADHD. Genetic studies have identified risk genes for ADHD, but how these genes affect the phenotype is largely unknown.
Martine Hoogman studied the role of ADHD risk genes on endophenotypes of ADHD like brain functioning and cognition. Her studies showed effects of DAT1, DRD4 and NOS1 on striatal and frontal brain activity, but also on behavioral correlates of these brain areas; impulsivity and working memory. In addition, an association between total brain volume and the number of self-reported ADHD symptoms was found.
This research is a good example of Cognomics research in Nijmegen. The method of endophenotypes appeared very useful to find links between genes, brain functioning and behavior. This type of research plays a key role in learning more about the neurobiology and etiological mechanisms of ADHD and is an important first step to better treatment.