ADHD Linked To Brain Size

All 3,242 people had an MRI scan to measure their overall brain volume, as well as the size in seven regions thought to be linked to ADHD.

Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have several brain regions that are slightly smaller than usual, more evidence that the disorder should be considered a neurological condition, a new study says.

The study revealed that the brains of children with ADHD were slightly smaller in at least five regions, including those regions that are responsible for controlling emotions, understanding and voluntary movements.

The researchers looked at the brain volume of 1,713 people with ADHD and 1,529 people with out ADHD aged between 4 and 63 years. Its ADHD project was four times the size of the previously largest study and was conducted at 23 locations in nine countries by 80 researchers, primarily psychiatrists and neuroscientists. The study was paid for by the National Institutes of Health and was published online Wednesday in the journal, Lancet Psychiatry. The other half were control subjects.

Furthermore, the review has shown an insignificant difference in the brain volumes. "So because this study was orders of magnitude higher in terms of participants, and because it involved sampling broadly and internationally, it givers us more confidence".

Other experts described the findings as interesting but said there wasn't enough information to link the brain differences to behavioural problems seen in people with ADHD. The differences were more prominent in children but continued into adulthood.

"We hope that this will help to reduce stigma that ADHD is "just a label" for hard children or caused by poor parenting", Hoogman added.

"We hope that this will help reduce stigma that ADHD is "just a label" for hard children or caused by poor parenting", said the study's leader author, Martine Hoogman of Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, in a statement reported by AFP. This study explains that ADHD should not be blamed on patients or parents since it is a matter of brain development.

Hoogman said the findings support previous theories that the brains of people with ADHD may develop more slowly but that those differences are mostly wiped out by the time children grow up. "Those symptoms are often present in patients with ADHD", the authors wrote, "but these disease characteristics have not [yet] been included into the official DSM criteria".

  • Joanne Flowers