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About IMpACT

IMpACT, short for ‘International Multi-centre persistent ADHD CollaboraTion’, is a consortium of clinical and basic researchers from several European countries (The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Norway, The United Kingdom, Sweden), from the United States of America and from Brazil. IMpACT currently coordinates biosamples and phenotypic information of over 4000 cases with persistent ADHD and over 8000 controls.

The Mission

The mission of IMpACT is to perform and promote high quality research in ADHD across the lifespan. This research is aimed at identifying novel genetic variants for adult ADHD and at understanding the mechanisms underlying the effect of these genetic variants on disease risk. IMpACT members share data on their samples as well as biological material, which has resulted in the formation of the largest database for adult ADHD research, including information on over 4000 cases and more than 7000 controls.

Why research on adult ADHD is needed

The diagnosis of ADHD is still based on clinical interviews. So far, there are no biological markers available in order to diagnose ADHD by a biological test. The pharmacological treatment of ADHD focuses on the reduction of hyperactive, impulsive and/or inattentive symptoms, but does not approach the actual cause of the disorder and can therefore not contribute to a general recovery of the patients. Additionally, we still have insufficient knowledge about the actual causes of ADHD to develop treatment possibilities that could indeed tackle the underlying causes of this disorder. Consequently, research on these causal mechanisms of the development of ADHD is necessary. With a better understanding of these processes, we hopefully can correct aberrant neuronal processes in the brain with the use of new medication or other therapy options.

ADHD has a strong genetic heritability, as approximately 70-80% of the clinical symptoms of a patient can be ascribed to heritable factors. However, the heritability of ADHD is not based on one single genetic aberration in the genetic material of a patient, but in most of the patients multiple small genetic variations play a role at the same time. Each of these variations has a small effect on the disease risk of a person. The fact that in different ADHD patients different genetic variations play a role, makes the genetic basis of ADHD even more complex. Besides, these variations also occur in healthy individuals, although ADHD patients have (a lot) more of these genetic variations.