Newsletter #1: The genetics of ADHD, and a coping tip to stay fit through the holidays

Welcome to the first issue of ADaptHD’s ADHD newsletter, where we highlight 1 scientific study, 1 news article and 1 coping tip each month!


Study of the Month: Unraveling the Genetics of ADHD

This month, scientists made significant progress in understanding the genetics of ADHD. In the journal Nature Genetics, researchers published the first genome-wide study to identify common genetic variants that contribute to ADHD risk. While ADHD researchers have believed that ADHD is about 70-80 percent heritable, finding the exact genes involved has been a tricky task. This enormous study of over 50,000 people is a significant step in that direction.

According to the authors of the study, the results are consistent with the idea that ADHD is an extreme expression of traits that are present as a continuum in the general population. Almost everyone has some of the common genetic variants that the researchers linked to ADHD it’s just that people with ADHD tend to have more.

We still don’t understand why these genes raise people’s risk for ADHD. Now that researchers have found these genes, confirming that common genetic variants are an important factor in people’s risk for ADHD, future research will likely try to figure out what it is about these genes that increases people’s chances of having ADHD.


Article of the Month: Productivity Tricks From a CEO With ADHD

This month, Fast Company ran an article by Peter Shankman, a CEO with ADHD, titled 10 Productivity Tricks From a CEO With ADHD. For people who think ADHD and career success can’t go together, Shankman is a good counterexample. In this article, he shares ten rules of thumb ranging from “Ask for deadlines” to “Make rituals, not resolutions.”

Productivity strategies are a personal thing — one person’s productivity tricks don’t necessarily work as well for another. But everyone with ADHD, whether or not they’re in the C-suite, will likely find at least a few useful ideas among Shankman’s ten productivity tricks!


Coping Tip of the Month: If Your Exercise Routine Falters, Try Experimenting With Different Sports and Physical Activities

If you’re like me, sometimes your will to exercise regularly starts to flag around this time of year. It gets colder and darker outside, and the holiday season brings all sorts of distractions.

For an exercise routine that’s easy to keep up, find a form of exercise you’re genuinely enthusiastic about. Running, swimming, cycling, tennis, squash, soccer, mountain climbing… whatever, try it all until you find something that really sticks. Don’t force yourself to stick with an exercise routine that’s not working.

Research has found that there are two main factors involved in how much people exercise: self-control and whether they have positive feelings about working out. The good news is that having just one of these things seems to be enough. Since people with ADHD tend to have low self-control, that means the trick is to find a physical activity or sport that naturally motivates us. You don’t need as much willpower if you really enjoy what you’re doing!


Happy holidays from ADaptHD! If you’d like to receive future issues of our newsletter, don’t forget to subscribe!

Image: Flickr/João Craveiro

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