Smaller brains linked to ADHD diagnoses: Dutch researchers

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ADHD has been considered a behavioral problem until now.

"This study represents an important contribution to the field by providing robust evidence to support the notion of ADHD as a brain disorder", he wrote.

The neurological condition, according to Graham Murray, lecturer at Cambridge University, does not mean that having less brain is bad but it is in fact a benefit for teens in term of intellectual growth, Time reported.

The findings suggest that delays in the development of several brain regions were characteristic of ADHD, the researchers said. The findings showed that people who suffer from this condition have smaller brains compared to those who don't have this condition. They submitted to MRI tests, which revealed the structural differences. They also said that people with this condition might have delayed development.

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The researchers reviewed one brain scan per ADHD patient and were surprised to find that there was no effect from medications.

The putamen and caudate nucleus have been linked before to ADHD but it was only now that researchers were able to associate the hippocampus, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens conclusively to the condition.

A neuro-developmental disorder, ADHD patients are often inattentive, hyperactive and highly impulsive. Two thirds of children diagnosed with ADHD continue to experience persistent and impairing symptoms as adults, note the study authors. Despite the fact that this is a serious problem, some people believe that it is an excuse to give drugs to children with a hard personality or bad parents. The CDC found that less than half of children diagnosed with ADHD symptoms were receiving behavior therapy, the preferred first-line of treatment for ADHD, before being given drugs. Existing ADHD meds are very powerful, and cause a plethora of side effects, ranging from weight loss to depression and feelings of suicide. They found that 1,713 children who had ADHD had slightly smaller brain regions, particularly the amygdala, part of the brain that control emotions, voluntary movement and understanding. Researchers measured overall brain volume, but also the size of seven specific brain regions believed to be associated with the disorder. The five underdeveloped brain regions are the caudate nucleus which is linked to goal-setting in individuals; the putamen which is linked to academic learning and response to stimuli; the nucleus accumbens which processes individual motivations and personal rewards; and the hippocampus which stores human memories. The differences were more prominent in children but continued into adulthood.

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