dglobalnews.com ADHD linked with smaller brain volumes not bad parenting: research
Published: Sun, February 19, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

ADHD linked with smaller brain volumes not bad parenting: research

ADHD linked with smaller brain volumes not bad parenting: research

A group of Dutch researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre has conducted the largest analysis of brain scans of people with ADHD, finding that those with the disorder actually have a physical difference in their brains. These differences is most prominent in children, although it can be seen in adults as well.

According to Yahoo News, in a most recent study, Hoogman, and a team analyzed the MRI outputs of individuals aged four to 63 that is suffering ADHD or not. Nonetheless, the findings of previous studies identified areas within the basal ganglia - the brain region responsible for controlling cognition, voluntary movement, and emotion - as being involved in ADHD, with putamen and caudate regions being specifically observed as smaller in those with the condition.

Further, these differences were most prominent in the brains of children with ADHD, and less obvious in adults with the disorder, a finding that might be important in challenging beliefs that ADHD is a label for hard children or the result of poor parenting, the researchers said.

"This study represents an important contribution to the field by providing robust evidence to support the notion of ADHD as a brain disorder with substantial effects on the volumes of subcortical nuclei", they wrote.

"These differences are very small.so the unprecedented size of our study was crucial to help identify these", said Hoogman, the study's lead author.

The newly developed study was published on February 15 in the Lancet Psychiatry magazine.

Other experts described the findings as interesting but said there wasn't enough information to link the brain differences to behavioral problems seen in people with ADHD.

Previous studies have found links between differences in brain volume and ADHD, but they were limited by small sample sizes, making it hard to draw any firm conclusions.

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They measured overall brain volume as well as the size of seven regions thought to be linked to the disorder.

The regions which had a reduced volume were the amygdala, the hippocampus, the nucleus accumbens, the putamen and the caudate nucleus.

According to them, the amygdala's connection to ADHD is through the brain region's role in emotion regulation while the nucleus accumbens is related to emotional and motivational problems with the condition because of the role it plays in reward processing.

In the past, small sample sizes stymied ADHD research, making many results unreliable.

Typically, people with ADHD have poor attention skills and could be hyperactive.

In order to treat ADHD, children need to take drugs like Ritalin.

ADHD causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity - and at least one in 20 children in Canada are estimated to have the disorder.

Dr. Jonathan Posner, associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in NY, was not involved in the study. He also calls for further studies to track brain differences in the development of ADHD, and suggests that there should also be an investigation of any medication effects.

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