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ADHD Patients Have Delayed Brain Development, Affecting Their Emotions

By Charles Omedo , Feb 16, 2017 06:09 AM EST
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Researchers from the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis (ENIGMA) consortium have published a new study in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry showing that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have delayed brain development which affects their emotional responses. This study explains that ADHD should not be blamed on patients or parents since it is a matter of brain development. A neuro-developmental disorder, ADHD patients are often inattentive, hyperactive and highly impulsive. They have short attention span and have difficulty concentrating on things, and their hyperactivity and impulsivity make them seem very troublesome to parents and relatives. Although the disorder is most common in children and teenagers, it could sometimes advance into adult years - making it difficult for the patient to live a healthy, balanced life.

Researchers say delayed brain development is responsible for ADHD

In a study involving 3,242 participants of ages four to 63, the researchers were able to identify that delayed brain development is the main culprit for ADHD. A total of 1,713 of the participants had been diagnosed with ADHD and 1,529 did not have the syndrome but served as a control group. They were all made to undergo MRI scans and their brain volumes measured - together with seven regions of the brain already linked to ADHD scanned, CNN reports.

The areas of the brain linked to ADHD are the caudate nucleus, putamen, pallidum, hippocampus, thalamus, amygdala and nucleus accumbems. Out of these seven brain regions, five of them were found to be smaller in volume and underdeveloped in ADHD patients but not in people without the condition. The five underdeveloped brain regions are the caudate nucleus which is linked to goal-setting in individuals; the putamen which is linked to academic learning and response to stimuli; the nucleus accumbens which processes individual motivations and personal rewards; and the hippocampus which stores human memories.

Children with ADHD can outgrow the disorder in adult life

Since underdeveloped brain regions have been found responsible for ADHD in children, the authors of the study point out that patients can outgrow the condition as they grow into adulthood, The Washington Post writes. This is not entirely true for all patients, but some adults have been proven to have the syndrome in their childhood years and today have fully recovered from the condition. This thread of news gives hopes to parents and families that with the proper therapies, their ADHD child could recover as he matures into adulthood.

This ADHD study was undertaken by 80 researchers including psychiatrists and neuroscientists as well as experts in imaging and genomics. It was conducted in 23 locations in nine countries and four times larger than the initial largest research on ADHD. The study project had been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIS).

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