(Suzie Atwell) Neuroscience and understanding the brain is giving scientists and the world a new future for our children with brain disorders. A new reality is possible for ADHD sufferers.
Whilst there are many heartbreaking scenarios happening in many people’s lives with the prevalence of brain disorders in our children, we are fortunate to live in an age where the understanding of the brain is unfolding. Scanning the brain and getting images through MRI of the activity of the brain is enabling data to be collected to verify the disorders of the brain.
The following article published by Lancet confirms that ADHD is a brain disorder. Apart from confirming that there are differences between a normal brain and a brain with ADHD , the study highlights the need for more research into understanding the neural substrates of the brain. Additionally, that further collaboration of knowledge is required.
The Institute of Functional Neuroscience is using brain mapping techniques with the latest technologies and are able to see the neuronal activity of the brain where neurons are either under firing or over firing. They use this information to change the neuronal activity of the brain and restore order to the brain. ADHD as well as ADD , dyslexia and autism are some of the areas they are working with to change the brain.
The structure of the brain of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) differs from that of normally developing children ― a difference that is clearly visible on MRI. This suggests that ADHD should be considered a neurologic disorder, researchers say.
In the largest imaging study of ADHD conducted to date, investigators found that five regions of the brain were slightly smaller in children with ADHD compared to children without the disorder.
“We hope that this will help to reduce stigma that ADHD is ‘just a label’ for difficult children or caused by poor parenting. This is definitely not the case, and we hope that this work will contribute to a better understanding of the disorder,” principal investigator Martine Hoogman, PhD, of Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, said in statement.
The study was published online February 15 in the Lancet Psychiatry.
Until now, neuroimaging studies of patients with ADHD have been small and heterogeneous in their methods, leading to “inconclusive results about structural brain differences in ADHD,” Dr Hoogman told Medscape Medical News.
To overcome these limitations and to conduct collaborative studies of “maximal power,” the researchers founded the ENIGMA ADHD Working Group in 2013 to aggregate structural MRI data from participants with ADHD and healthy control persons across the lifespan, the researchers note.
“We tried to reuse all the efforts that have been put in the individual imaging studies and reanalyze all the raw data again using homogenized methods. This has resulted in a large sample size with adequate power to detect small changes in the brains of people with ADHD,” said Dr Hoogman.
The researchers assessed differences in the subcortical structures and intracranial volume on MRI scans of 1713 individuals with ADHD and 1529 unaffected control persons across 23 sites. The participants ranged in age from 4 years to 63 years (median age, 14 years).
In this “mega-analysis,” patients with ADHD were found to have reductions in the volumes of the accumbens, the amygdala, the caudate, the hippocampus, and the putamen (Cohen’s d = -0.15, -0.19, -0.11, -0.11, and -0.14, respectively), as well as reductions in intracranial volume (Cohen’s d = -0.10).
The differences in the brains of people with ADHD uncovered in the study have “similar effect sizes as those of depression or obsessive compulsive disorder,” said Dr Hoogman said.
The differences were most prominent in the brains of children with ADHD. They were less obvious in adults with the disorder, which supports the notion that ADHD is a disorder of the brain and that delays in the development of these brain regions are characteristic of ADHD, she noted.
At the time of brain MRI scanning, 455 people with ADHD were taking psychostimulant medication; 637 had taken psychostimulant medication at some time in their lifetime. The observed differences in the five brain regions involved in ADHD were independent of psychostimulant medication, suggesting that the differences in brain volumes were not a result of the medication, the researchers note.