Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Recovery from childhood ADHD may depend on pattern of brain development

Date:
October 15, 2013
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Some people grow out of their childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some don't. In fact, around 50% of individuals diagnosed as children continue to suffer from ADHD as adults. Researchers are trying to understand the reasons why, and whether there are any differences that distinguish the two groups. Gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and symptom severity have already been ruled out as potentials. So, perhaps there is a distinguishing variable in the brain?

Some people grow out of their childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some don't. In fact, around 50% of individuals diagnosed as children continue to suffer from ADHD as adults.

Researchers are trying to understand the reasons why, and relatedly, whether there are any differences that distinguish the two groups. Gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and symptom severity have already been ruled out as potentials. So, perhaps there is a distinguishing variable in the brain? Dr. Philip Shaw at the National Human Genome Research Institute and his colleagues conducted a study to find out.

They already knew from prior work that cortical structure is thinner in adults with ADHD, particularly in regions of the brain that play important roles in cognitive functioning and attention. However, that work was cross-sectional, meaning it was conducted at a single point in time, so any changes over time weren't captured. Thus, they focused on those same regions in this study, but conducted a longitudinal study so they could link trajectories of symptoms with trajectories of brain development, particularly the structure of cortical regions that control attention.

They recruited 92 children with ADHD, with a mean age of 11, who underwent repeated structural imaging scans and clinical assessments over the years, including as adults at a mean age of 24 years. For comparison, they also scanned 184 volunteers without ADHD.

They found that ADHD continued into adulthood in 37 (40%) of the participants diagnosed with childhood ADHD, and these individuals showed increased rates of thinning. In contrast, the cortical thickness of individuals who achieved remission of their ADHD developed toward the normal range.

"We find that differences in patterns of brain growth are linked with differences in the adult outcome of childhood ADHD. Differences in these regions -- specifically a thinner cortex -- are found in childhood ADHD," Shaw further explained. "However, for the group whose ADHD improved with age, these differences tend to resolve and by adulthood, these regions did not differ significantly from individuals who never had ADHD. By contrast, for the group with persistent ADHD, childhood differences persisted in the 'attention' regions of the brain."

These findings seem to suggest that the trajectory of cortex development differentiates people who recover from childhood ADHD from people whose disorder continues into adulthood.

"The development of the cortex seems to be a critical factor influencing the recovery from childhood ADHD. However, there is much that we do not understand about this relationship," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "Cortical thinning may be related to the pruning of connections in the brain, in this case, connections with the prefrontal cortex. The current data would seem to suggest that excessive trimming of connections is a risk factor for the persistence of ADHD into adulthood. But we do not yet understand which connections are being trimmed, why these connections disappear, and how this loss of connections contributes to ADHD symptoms."

More work will be necessary to answer these questions, but Shaw concludes that "understanding how differences in brain development are tied to the course of ADHD is the first step in developing tools to help us predict the outcome of childhood ADHD."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Philip Shaw, Meaghan Malek, Bethany Watson, Deanna Greenstein, Pietro de Rossi, Wendy Sharp. Trajectories of Cerebral Cortical Development in Childhood and Adolescence and Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 2013; 74 (8): 599 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.04.007

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Recovery from childhood ADHD may depend on pattern of brain development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015094030.htm>.
Elsevier. (2013, October 15). Recovery from childhood ADHD may depend on pattern of brain development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015094030.htm
Elsevier. "Recovery from childhood ADHD may depend on pattern of brain development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131015094030.htm (accessed September 29, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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