A new study has found direct evidence that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children is genetic.
The international team of researchers involved in the study say their research could eventually lead to better treatments for the condition.
Children with ADHD are twice as likely to have missing or extra chromosomes, according to the study published Thursday in the medical journal The Lancet.
Read the study.
Researchers examining the gene maps of more than 1,400 children, compared the genomes of children who have ADHD to those who don't have it.
They found that 14 percent of children who have the disorder also have deleted or doubled chromosomes. Only 7 percent of children without the disorder have such such genetic alterations.
Anita Thapar, a professor of psychiatry at Cardiff University and the leader of the research team, said the findings should help dispel the myths that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or high-sugar diets.
"This is really exciting because it gives us the first direct genetic link to ADHD. Now we can say with confidence that ADHD is a genetic disease and that the brains of children with this condition develop differently to those of other children," she told reporters at a briefing about the findings.
ADHD is one of the most common child mental disorders and is estimated to affect around 3 to 5 percent of children globally.