Though this research indicates associations between the genetic risk of ADHD to Alzheimer’s disease, lead study author and psychiatry resident at UPMC, Douglas Leffa, M.D., Ph.D., says more work is needed to link a confirmed ADHD diagnosis to the risks of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We believe the next step will be to measure biomarkers of Alzheimer’s pathology in older individuals that were diagnosed with ADHD in childhood. By following these individuals over time, we will be able to confirm the association between ADHD and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, as well as better comprehend the mechanisms behind it,” he explains.
Additionally, Leffa points out that studies on the genetic risk of ADHD (including this one) and most of the Alzheimer’s literature have been conducted in individuals that self-identify as White. “Future research should definitely focus on recruiting a more diverse population in order to answer how race plays into the genetic association between ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease,” he says.