Faulty genes linked to ADHD
The tiny defective gene has been linked to a multi-functional protein in the brain that helps to balance a child’s levels of inhibition and excitability.
Researchers found that children with the gene, called GIT1, are 2.7 times more likely to develop Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Although the exact numbers of children who have ADHD are unknown, it’s thought to affect approximately one child in 20.
Scientists are hoping that as they improve their understanding of how genes like GIT1 influence ADHD, they will be able to develop new drugs or therapies to control the disorder.
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Ritalin is currently the most popular drug used to treat the condition, and it is thought between 50,000 and 100,000 children are being prescribed the pill.
Symptoms of ADHD include impulsiveness, hyperactivity and a lack of concentration. It is hoped the new findings will help to remove the stigma that is attached to the condition, something which is often mistaken for bad behaviour caused by poor parenting
The new research found that just a single letter change in the genetic code was responsible for the heightened risk of children developing the behavioural condition.
Scientists in South Korea studied the GIT1 gene in 388 children, and found a strong link between those with the faulty gene and those with ADHD.
Although previous studies into ADHD have found that the condition lies in families and variants in DNA are linked to the disorder, the underlying cause remains a mystery.
There are, therefore, a number of varying theories as to its causes. Some doctors and scientists believe it can be triggered by food additives, while others think that it is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.
There is also another theory that puts ADHD down to the brains inability to filter different types of stimulation coming through the various senses.
This latest research into the condition was led by Dr Eunjin Kim, from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and a paper in his findings has been published online in the Nature Medicine journal.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”