Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deficits in number processing in children with ADHD and alcohol exposure: Similar but different

Date:
December 14, 2010
Source:
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Summary:
Children with fetal alcohol exposure often exhibit similar symptoms to those with ADHD, but new research indicates that they actually occur in completely different areas within the brain.

In children, the brain is in a constant state of flux as it analyzes and evaluates stimuli from the environment. Fetal alcohol exposure and ADHD represent two disorders that can affect children's ability to learn and process information from a very young age.

Both ADHD and fetal alcohol exposure are linked to poor academic performance in cognition and attention, so the researchers decided to try to pinpoint the exact brain areas affected by each disorder with the hope that this research could lead to the creation and development of new and improved treatments.

The results will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

Joseph L. Jacobson, lead author of the study and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, said that the goal of the study was to determine if alcohol-related deficits in magnitude comparison (the ability to mentally represent and evaluate relative quantities) seen in children with prenatal alcohol exposure would also be true for ADHD.

"We thought it very interesting that this is not the case. The arithmetic deficit in ADHD is mediated primarily by poorer executive function and attention problems rather than magnitude comparison, which is more often impaired in children with fetal alcohol exposure."

The researchers assessed 262 African-American adolescents at 14 years of age. Their mothers were recruited during pregnancy and interviewed extensively regarding their use of alcohol to determine the amount of alcohol the child was exposed to prior to birth. The children were evaluated for ADHD symptoms at ages 7.5 and 14 by parent/guardian and teacher reports, and their number processing abilities were assessed at 14 years.

The results showed that children with fetal alcohol exposure demonstrated strong deficits in number comparison, while children with ADHD demonstrated deficits in attention and memory. Thus, although number processing is affected in both ADHD and fetal alcohol exposure, the exact cause of the difficulties appears to be different.

In a related study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) conducted in Cape Town, South Africa, the researchers found that, when given simple number processing problems, alcohol-exposed children appear to be able to recruit different brain regions to compensate for the damage done to the areas of the brain. However, the recovery is never complete and is variable at best depending on the child.

"The extent of the brain damage experienced by the individuals is an important predictor of recovery of function and is influenced by the quantity and duration of alcohol consumed while in utero and various genetic and metabolic characteristics of the mother and fetus," said Julie A. Kable, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine. "More extensive damage leads to less available resources to compensate."

However, Jacobson does not consider the performance of the children in this study to constitute recovery. He said that the alcohol-exposed children in the fMRI study performed as well as the control group on the arithmetic tasks only because of the relatively easy nature of the problems selected for that study.

"In our view, the alternate strategies these children use are less efficient than those used by the controls. As a result, these strategies are not likely to be as effective as the problems get harder."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Deficits in number processing in children with ADHD and alcohol exposure: Similar but different." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214181224.htm>.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2010, December 14). Deficits in number processing in children with ADHD and alcohol exposure: Similar but different. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214181224.htm
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Deficits in number processing in children with ADHD and alcohol exposure: Similar but different." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214181224.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins