Key Brain Difference Explains Why Those With ADHD Have Trouble Focusing

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD and because symptoms vary from person to person, the disorder can be hard to diagnose.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD and because symptoms vary from person to person, the disorder can be hard to diagnose.

A new study from a team of researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry suggests that less-mature connections between certain brain networks could be a clue to the disorder that affects 4.1% American adults and 9.0% of American children. Learning more about this connection could one day lead to a diagnostic measure that call help doctors provide the best treatment for those with ADHD.

Kids and teens with ADHD have a delay in the formation of certain brain networks, specifically those that control internally-directed thought (ie, daydreaming) and networks that allow those to focus on external tasks. This disconnect may help explain why those with ADHD get easily distracted or struggle to stay focused.

Lead author Chandra Sripada MD, PhD and colleagues looked at the brain scans - using function magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI - of 275 kids and teens with ADHD, and 481 others without it, using "connectomic" methods that can map interconnectivity between networks in the brain. These scans show brain activity during a resting state. The team found lags in the development of connection between two networks – the DMN, or default mode network (internal focus) and the TPN or task-positive network (externally focused).

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"It is particularly noteworthy that the networks we found to have lagging maturation in ADHD are linked to the very behaviors that are the symptoms of ADHD," says Dr. Sripada.

The research may also help scientists learn why some children and teens “grow out” of the disorder – perhaps as their brain network matures, the ADHD symptoms diminish.

Sripada also notes that connectomics could be used to examine other disorders with roots in brain connectivity -- including autism, which some evidence has suggested stems from over-maturation of some brain networks, and schizophrenia, which may arise from abnormal connections.

Journal Reference:
Chandra S. Sripada, Daniel Kessler, And Mike Angstadt. Lag in maturation of the brain’s intrinsic functional architecture in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. PNAS, September 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1407787111

Additional Resource:
National Institute of Mental Health

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Comments

my daughter of 10 years has ADHD she can not concentrate at all even her speech is somehow what do i do