WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Antisocial behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be associated with a variant gene involved in brain signaling, British researchers report.
This variant of the "catechol O-methyltransferase" (COMT) gene may also increase a child's susceptibility to the effects of lower birth weight, the study said.
Researchers at Cardiff University in Wales looked for the COMT variant in 240 children, ages 5 to 14, with ADHD who were at high risk for early onset antisocial behavior.
The study found a significant association between the COMT variant and antisocial behavior and between birth weight and antisocial behavior.
The researchers also concluded that interaction between this COMT variant and low birth weight could be associated with antisocial behavior.
"Early onset antisocial behavior in a high-risk clinical group was predicted by a specific COMT gene variant previously linked with prefrontal cortical [brain] function and birth weight," the study authors concluded.
The findings appear in the November issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about child behavior.