Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

17 September 2014 - MNT - Brain networks to handle internal & external tasks mature more slowly in ADHD

A peek inside the brains of more than 750 children and teens reveals a key difference in brain architecture between those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and those without.

Kids and teens with ADHD, a new study finds, lag behind others of the same age in how quickly their brains form connections within, and between, key brain networks.

The result: less-mature connections between a brain network that controls internally-directed thought (such as daydreaming) and networks that allow a person to focus on externally-directed tasks. That lag in connection development may help explain why people with ADHD get easily distracted or struggle to stay focused.

What's more, the new findings, and the methods used to make them, may one day allow doctors to use brain scans to diagnose ADHD - and track how well someone responds to treatment. This kind of neuroimaging "biomarker" doesn't yet exist for ADHD, or any psychiatric condition for that matter.

The new findings come from a team in the University of Michigan Medical School's Department of Psychiatry. They used highly advanced computing techniques to analyze a large pool of detailed brain scans that were publicly shared for scientists to study. Their results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.