Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Methylphenidate 'normalizes' activation in key brain areas in kids with ADHD, study suggests

Date:
May 9, 2013
Source:
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Summary:
The stimulant drug methylphenidate "normalizes" activation of several brain areas in young patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new review.

The stimulant drug methylphenidate "normalizes" activation of several brain areas in young patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a review published in the May Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) show increased activation of key brain areas after a dose of methylphenidate in young patients with ADHD, according to the systematic review by Constance A. Moore, PhD, and colleagues of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. They write, "In most cases, this increase 'normalized' activation of at least some brain areas to levels seen in typically developing children."

How Do ADHD Medications Affect the Brain in ADHD Patients?

In a research review, Dr Moore and colleagues identified nine previous studies using fMRI to study patterns of brain activation in response to a single dose of methylphenidate. Perhaps best known by the brand name Ritalin, methylphenidate is a common and effective treatment for ADHD. "Although methylphenidate has been shown to significantly improve the behavioral symptoms associated with ADHD, both the mechanism behind its therapeutic effect and its direct effects on brain function are unknown," the researchers write.

The studies evaluated methylphenidate-induced fMRI changes in various brain areas, as the participants performed different types of tasks. Most of the studies included adolescent boys with ADHD, along with matched groups of young people without ADHD.

Methylphenidate altered activation patterns in widely distributed areas of the brain in ADHD patients, the results showed. The main brain areas involved were the frontal lobes, the basal ganglia, and cerebellum: "Abnormalities in these regions have all been implicated in patients with ADHD," Dr Moore and coauthors write.

Different areas were activated during different types of fMRI tasks. Several studies assessed performance on "inhibitory control" tasks -- the ability to control certain types of accustomed ("prepotent") responses. In three out of five studies, methylphenidate "at least partially normalized" brain activation in ADHD patients, compared to healthy young people.

Different Tasks Affect Different Brain Areas

A few studies showed similar normalization of brain responses with methylphenidate on tasks of selective attention and time perception -- although not on tasks evaluating working memory. Methylphenidate mainly affected activation in the frontal lobes during inhibitory control tasks. During selective attention tasks, a wider range of brain areas were affected.

Since none of the studies evaluated ADHD symptoms on and off methylphenidate, there was no way to link the changes in brain activation with clinical improvement. Brain activation patterns with methylphenidate differed for patients who were versus were not previously treated with stimulants for ADHD.

Patients with ADHD have "age-inappropriate frequency or severity of inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive behaviors," according to the authors. It affects about five percent of children worldwide, and a growing body of evidence suggests that ADHD persists throughout adolescence and into adulthood. Functional fMRI provides a safe, noninvasive way to study how stimulants like methylphenidate may act in the brain of ADHD patients.

The new analysis suggests that methylphenidate partially normalizes activation in key brain areas thought to be involved in ADHD. The studies "may provide evidence that methylphenidate facilitates the return of brain function in ADHD patients to, or close to, a typically functioning state," Dr Moore and colleagues write. They call for further research to confirm that methylphenidate-induced changes in specific brain areas are correlated with improvement in ADHD symptoms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Czerniak, Suzanne M.; Sikoglu, Elif M.; King, Jean A.; Kennedy, David N.; Mick, Eric; Frazier, Jean; Moore, Constance M. Areas of the Brain Modulated by Single-Dose Methylphenidate Treatment in Youth with ADHD During Task-Based fMRI: A Systematic Review. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, May/June 2013 DOI: 10.1097/HRP.0b013e318293749e

Cite This Page:

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Methylphenidate 'normalizes' activation in key brain areas in kids with ADHD, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130509123329.htm>.
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2013, May 9). Methylphenidate 'normalizes' activation in key brain areas in kids with ADHD, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130509123329.htm
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Methylphenidate 'normalizes' activation in key brain areas in kids with ADHD, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130509123329.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
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