'Delay' in ADHD children's brains

The brains of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) do not mature at the same rate as their peers, a US study says.

Researchers looked at 450 children - half of whom had ADHD - and found an average delay of three years in the development of the cortex. This, the brain's outer mantle, is key for both attention and planning.

Researchers say the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study may pave the way for new treatments.

The team from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) looked at when and where the brain reached peak "thickness", a marker of maturity.

Among the 223 youngsters with ADHD, half of 40,000 cortex sites examined reached peak thickness at 10.5, compared to age 7.5 in a matched group without the disorder. But the researchers did find that despite the delay, the brain does follow a normal pattern of development.

"Finding a normal pattern of cortex maturation, albeit delayed, in children with ADHD should be reassuring to families and could help to explain why many youth eventually seem to grow out of the disorder," said Philip Shaw, the lead researcher.

Finding out why
Future studies will now look into why the delay happens, and examine ways of boosting recovery.

However UK experts warned that the findings do not indicate that children with ADHD "catch up" after the three year delay, as the brains of children without the disorder will continue to advance.

"During these later stages of development the cortex of the brain gets thinner due to a process called pruning which occurs as the brain refines its connections and becomes more organized," said Dr David Coghill of the University of Dundee.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:05 am

    As anyone who battles with Attention Deficit Disorder – or struggles along with a child – will tell you, there is little you would not do to reduce symptoms in an effort to manage the daily struggles of this condition. Effective medications continue to make their way to market and experienced health care providers continue to make strides in battling this disorder. So it stands to reason that those who struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder would gladly assess the benefits of an Attention Deficit Disorder diet should it show promise for success.

    In the past, before much was known about Attention Deficit Disorder, the medical community felt that the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder could largely be attributed to a diet of sugary, processed foods. At the advice of their doctors, parents eliminated sugar from the diets of their children and kept the focus on natural, whole foods.

    While a diet of this nature is certainly the best thing to adopt in order to keep children healthy in general, as an Attention Deficit Disorder diet it hardly did the trick. Symptoms continued and after much testing the medical community eventually disregarded the Attention Deficit Disorder diet as a valid treatment for the condition.

    Attention Deficit Disorder, first and foremost, should be treated by a medical professional who has experience with this condition. There are a number of effective medications that can be used successfully in conjunction with therapy to help combat Attention Deficit Disorder.

    However, the affects of an Attention Deficit Disorder diet – at its core – is subjective. Who is to say that excessive sugar does not exacerbate the effects of Attention Deficit Disorder in your child? It is worth experimenting with an Attention Deficit Disorder diet in order to learn what specific things work in your particular situation.

    The least that will happen is an increased commitment to an overall healthy diet. There is certainly no harm in encouraging whole, natural foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The best that can happen is a strong correlation between your own Attention Deficit Disorder diet and the symptoms of the condition.

    While this in no way should be considered a replacement for appropriate medical care and drug therapy, the Attention Deficit Disorder diet can instead be another tool for you to help battle Attention Deficit Disorder.

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