What differences in brain structure can be observed in children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared with children who do not have ADHD?

Updated: Sep 09, 2021
  • Author: Maggie A Wilkes, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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A 10-year study by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) demonstrated that the brains of children and adolescents with ADHD (ADD) are 3-4% smaller than those of children without the disorder, and that pharmacologic treatment is not the cause. The more severe patients' ADHD (ADD) symptoms were, as rated by parents and clinicians, the smaller their frontal lobes, temporal gray matter, caudate nucleus, and cerebellum were.

Data from 357 healthy subjects, obtained from the NIH MRI Study of Normal Brain Development, noted that a thinner cortex and slower cortical thinning was associated with higher attention problem scores, suggesting a link between attention and cortical maturation. [6]

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