Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic Marker Linked To Problem Behaviors In Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Date:
July 23, 2009
Source:
Vanderbilt University
Summary:
A common variation of the gene involved in regulating serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain may be linked to problem behaviors in adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, new research indicates.

A common variation of the gene involved in regulating serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain may be linked to problem behaviors in adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, new research indicates.

Related Articles


The findings were published in the July 2009 issue of the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

"Problem behaviors in these populations account for billions of dollars in intervention costs each year, but nearly all of these interventions occur after the fact," Craig Kennedy, a co-author of the study and professor of special education at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of education and human development, said. "This research suggests one way we might predict which individuals are at risk of being aggressive and destructive and provide treatment before problems occur."

Fifteen to 20 percent of adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities have problem behaviors. For this study, the researchers focused specifically on aggression, self-injury or property destruction and set out to determine if there was a genetic underpinning for these behaviors. They focused on the gene that encodes monoamine oxidize A or MAOA. MAOA is involved in the regulation of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is linked to appetite and mood, and the neurotransmitter and hormone norepinephrine, which is linked to the fight-or-flight response. Previous studies found that variations in MAOA were linked to violent behavior.

"We found that a common variant of the MAOA gene was strongly associated with problem behaviors in adults with developmental and / or intellectual disabilities," Kennedy said.

The researchers studied 105 white men between the ages of 18 and 50. The individuals were divided into three groups: those with developmental/intellectual disabilities and a history of more than 10 years of problem behavior, those with the disabilities but without problem behavior, and a typically developing control group. Only white men were sampled because the MAOA gene is linked to the X chromosome and also is shown to vary by ethnicity.

Forty-three percent of those with developmental/intellectual disabilities and behavior problems had the gene variant, compared to 20 percent of the same group with no behavior issues and 20 percent of a typically developing control group.

The same MAOA variation has also been linked to autism in children, autism severity and communication problems. The researchers suggest that problem behaviors linked to this variation may explain increased autism severity in individuals with it. It is not, however, linked to behavior problems in individuals with fragile X syndrome, pointing to the need for further research on genetic and other contributors to problem behavior in individuals with different developmental disabilities.

Kennedy's co-authors are Lora K. Hedges, research assistant; Randy D. Blakely, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Molecular Neuroscience; and Southern Illinois University's Michael E. May, Ali Srour, David A. Lightfoot and John A. Phillips III.

Kennedy is chair of the Department of Special Education and an investigator in the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. The U.S. Department of Education and General Clinical Research Council at Vanderbilt University funded portions of the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University. "Genetic Marker Linked To Problem Behaviors In Adults With Developmental Disabilities." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090721122855.htm>.
Vanderbilt University. (2009, July 23). Genetic Marker Linked To Problem Behaviors In Adults With Developmental Disabilities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090721122855.htm
Vanderbilt University. "Genetic Marker Linked To Problem Behaviors In Adults With Developmental Disabilities." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090721122855.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins