If you enjoy adderall, you may have a decreased risk of developing schizophrenia

Certain genetic variants that make a person enjoy the effects caused by d-amphetamine, the active ingredient in Adderall, could also reduce an individual's risk for developing schizophrenia or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study reports.

A team from the University of Chicago Medical Center who conducted the research say the results support the idea that dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is effected by amphetamine, is related to schizophrenia and ADHD.

"Our study provides new insights into the biology of amphetamine and how it relates to the biology of risk for these psychiatric diseases," said study lead author Abraham Palmer, PhD.

Amphetamine sensitivity

About 400 study participants were given amphetamine and then asked to report how the drug made them feel using detailed questionnaires. The research team then assessed genetic differences for amphetamine sensitivity, as well traits that weren't related - like height, irritable bowel disease and Parkinson's disease.

Results showed that sensitivity to amphetamine and schizophrenia risk shared a similar set of genetic variants - and that increased enjoyment of amphetamine decreased the risk for schizophrenia.

"What is particularly striking is that by examining people's responses for just a few hours after taking a drug, we can identify an underlying genetic propensity that can manifest as a psychiatric disease over the course of a lifetime," Palmer said.

Identifying similar genetic overlaps

The study also reveals certain genetic variants that might not otherwise "stand out" can be identified using this type of analysis, especially on groups with small samples sizes, the researchers said.

"Our approach offers a promising new direction for studying complex psychiatric behaviors using the whole-genome approach," said co-author Harriet de Wit, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

The study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: University of Chicago Medical Center

"Image courtesy of tungphoto/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

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