Vol. 6, No. 3, 2000 Page 5

Imaging study: ADHD brain changes appear early in childhood

Research shows a strong link between childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and adult violence and social failure, even when ADHD is not accompanied by conduct problems (see related article, Crime Times, 1997, Vol. 3, No. 3, Page 1). While the causes of ADHD remain unclear, new research points to brain abnormalities evident early in life.

F. Xavier Castellanos et al. report that large-scale brain imaging studies of ADHD children reveal reduced cerebral volume compared to control subjects. A study of 55 girls with ADHD revealed small but significant volume reductions in the left caudate nuc cleus, and a study of 55 ADHD boys also revealed differences but in the right caudate nucleus. In boys but not girls, "robust" differences were seen in the globus pallidus. Also, in both sexes, the posterior-inferior lobules of the cerebellar vermis were e smaller than in controls. The study extends findings reported in 1996 by the same research group.

Castellanos says the differences seen in ADHD subjects appear early in life and do not progress. Comparisons of medicated and unmedicated ADHD subjects indicate that the changes are not due to stimulant medications but rather most likely stem from genetic c, prenatal, or early-childhood environmental insults.

Castellanos' findings were reported at the annual meeting of the American Neuropsychiatric Association in April.


"Brain changes appear early in ADHD children," Carl Sherman, Clinical Psychiatry News, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2000, p. 15.

Related Article: [2002, Vol. 8]

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