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Scientists Discover ADHD Rats

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Researchers from Norway reported that they found a rat for the Predominantly Inattentive subtype of ADHD. This type of ADHD is characterized by Inattention without impulsiveness or hyperactivity. The report in Neuropharmacology (2009 Dec;57), says "The WKY rat obtained from Charles River Germany provides a promising model for the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD."

Inattentive ADHD is less common than Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD. It affects a lot of people, but it gets less attention than ADHD-HI because the symptoms are less obvious, and less disruptive, to the every day functioning of the sufferers in school and in family life. The inattentive type of ADHD is disabling in a different way than the Hyperactive/Impulsive subtype, and the discovery of this special breed of inattentive rats will help researchers learn more about this subtype of ADHD.

ADHD is genetic, it runs in families, and is 80% inheritable. A rat with similar genes should respond to treatment in a similar way to a human with the same genetic problem. The researchers will study the gene structure of the WKY rat to gain a better insight into the genetics involved in the Predominantly Inattentive subtype of ADHD.

Several years ago, a researcher discovered that the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) displayed all the major symptoms of ADHD/HI (Hyperactive/Impulsive sub-type) and that this rat also had the predicted abnormalities in the brain's nervous system when they were compared to a rat without ADHD symptoms.

The discovery of a rat for ADHD-PI is an exciting find; finally the Predominantly Inattentive subtype of ADHD can be more thoroughly studied. Treatment studies almost always use animals for testing first. If the treatment shows promise for the animal, then the study moves on to human testing. Without a rat for the Predominantly Inattentive subtype of ADHD, promising treatment possibilities could not be explored.

There is the possibility that it's not only genes that are important, but that both the environment and genes play a complimentary role in all types of ADHD. But researchers can also use rats to look into the influence of environment, as well as the influence of genes. Another study of rats done in South Africa, with SHR rats that were mothered by rats without ADHD/HI or ADHD/C (Combined sub-type) found that mothering had no impact on the ADHD behavior of rats with ADHD/HI, or the behavior of rats with ADHD/C. Studies such as this will be performed using the WKY Rat, and will give us a deeper look into the roll the environment plays with Inattentive ADHD.

The WKY rat from Charles River Germany provides promise for the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD." The discovery of this rat will help researchers learn more about Predominantly Inattentive ADHD.