ADHD Patients Have Delayed Brain Development, Affecting Their Emotions

Pakistani para-military soldiers stand alert after a deadly suicide attack at the shrine of famous Sufi Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Pakistan Thursday Feb. 16 2017. An Islamic State suicide bomber targeted worshippers at a famous shrine in southern

The analysis found that the brain of people with ADHD had "structural differences" and evidence of delayed development compared to those who don't suffer from it.

The condition is linked with inattention, hyperactivity and strong impulses and is thought to affect one in 20 under-18s.

The results showed that the brains of participants with ADHD were smaller overall, and that volumes of five of the seven regions were also smaller: the caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and hippocampus.

Previous studies have found links between differences in brain volume and ADHD, but they were limited by small sample sizes, making it hard to draw any firm conclusions.

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.

Study authors revealed that they did not observe a difference in people who took drugs for ADHD, which means that the drugs don't have an effect on the brain. The research team noted that similar differences are common in psychiatric conditions like depression.

"By the time they become adults, the differences in their brains are not significant anymore", she said.

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.

Pakistani students light candles to condemn the recent attack on a shrine in interior Sind province Thursday Feb. 16 2017 in Karachi Pakistan. An Islamic State suicide bomber targeted worshippers at a famous shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday
Iran strongly condemns suicide attack in Pakistan

The study, the largest review of ADHD patients' brain scans ever conducted, might also provide clues for developing new treatments.

"These differences are very small - in the range of a few percent - so the unprecedented size of our study was crucial to help identify these", Hoogman said.

In a study involving 3,242 participants of ages four to 63, the researchers were able to identify that delayed brain development is the main culprit for ADHD. It is the work of the ENIGMA Consortium, an global multidisciplinary group that is investigating genetic and brain-imaging differences in psychiatric disorders.

The study will hopefully create more empathy for children with ADHD.

According to them, the amygdala's connection to ADHD is through the brain region's role in emotion regulation while the nucleus accumbens is related to emotional and motivational problems with the condition because of the role it plays in reward processing.

They found no difference between people who were taking or had taken ADHD drugs, and those who had never taken such medications - suggesting that the brain changes were not caused by psychostimulants.

Dr. Jonathan Posner, Psychiatrist at Columbia University, said that the study gives a vital contribution with such a substantial amount of data.

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