Study reveals a preliminary genetic link to dyspraxia

Researchers from Oxford Brookes University have found certain genes that can potentially reveal critical information about the biology of developmental coordination disorder (DCD), also called dyspraxia.

Study reveals a preliminary genetic link to dyspraxia
Image Credit: Oxford Brookes University.

Dyspraxia is a common motor coordination disorder that is estimated to affect at least one kid in every classroom. A child’s handwriting and coordination skills, like catching a ball or tying a shoelace, can be affected by DCD. This disorder can restrict school achievement, affect cognitive development, limit career prospects, and raise the children's risk of developing mental health concerns.

Although DCD affects 5% of children, as common as autism or dyslexia, not much is known about why certain children suffer from motor coordination.

Genetic data research is first step in understanding the causes of DCD

Researchers studied genetic information from over 4,000 individuals in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, who were evaluated for motor coordination at the age of seven. This information was utilized to correlate common genetic variations with motor coordination issues, allowing researchers to get a better understanding of the cellular and genetic mechanisms involved in DCD. According to the experts, this is the first step in understanding the reason behind DCD.

If we can identify genes, we can use this information to understand why some children develop DCD.”

Dr Hayley Mountford, Study Lead Author and Research Fellow, Department of Biological and Medical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University

Clear potential to unravel the biology of DCD

A majority of children with motor coordination impairments are not diagnosed and, added to this, a lack of study has a major impact on the awareness about DCD among the medical and public community.

Although this is a preliminary study, these findings show a clear potential for genetics studies to unravel the underlying biology of DCD. We need to replicate these findings in larger datasets to uncover the reasons why some children are at a higher risk. This will lead to developments in the diagnosis of DCD, improving the lives of affected families.”

Dr Hayley Mountford, Study Lead Author and Research Fellow, Department of Biological and Medical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University

Source:
Journal reference:

Mountford, H. S., et al. (2021) Genome-Wide Association Study of Motor Coordination. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2021.669902.

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