Fathers smoking leads to ADHD in their grandchildren

Scientists at Florida State University found that children were more likely to develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) if their grandfather smoked.  

In experiments on mice, scientists gave males drinking water with small doses of nicotine and analyzed their semen. Then these “smoking” mice were mated with “non-smoking” females. The offspring were generally normal, but the children of “smoking” males showed behavioral disorders – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cognitive rigidity (that is, rigidity, inertia of thinking, difficulty in switching from one concept to another).

During the experiment, mice from this offspring mated and gave birth to offspring (grandchildren of “smoking” males), which also showed cognitive rigidity and attention problems, albeit to a lesser extent.

Analysis of sperm from mice treated with nicotine showed the modification of several genes, including the DRD2 gene, which encodes a receptor protein involved in memory, learning and cognition of the surrounding world.

This is not the first confirmation that a parent’s lifestyle can significantly affect the health of their offspring – even after one generation. Previously, a link was shown between smoking fathers and the risk of developing bronchial asthma in their children; the relationship between the diet of fathers and metabolic changes in the child; and the relationship between the stress experienced by fathers and the likelihood of developing anxiety in their offspring. 

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