Younger Aged Children With Symptoms of ADHD Have Reduced Brain Size

Posted on May 26, 2018

Using high-resolution MRI scans along with cognitive and behavioral measures, researchers from Kennedy Krieger Institute studied the brain development of 90 preschoolers between the ages of 4 and 5 years. The study found that preschoolers with ADHD showed significantly reduced brain volume across multiple regions of the cerebral cortex, including the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes. The brain regions showing greatest ADHD-related reductions included those known to be critical for cognitive and behavioral control and predictability of behavioral symptoms.

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed form of psychopathology during the preschool years, and during early childhood, it is associated with significant long-term health and economic costs. To date, studies assessing structural brain development in children with ADHD have examined school-aged samples, despite most children with the disorder showing symptoms early in the preschool years. This study carefully identified children with symptoms of ADHD closer to their onset, allowing for better understanding of the brain mechanisms associated with the onset of the condition.

According to E. Mark Mahone, Ph.D., ABPP, lead study author and research scientist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, by following these children from early on in life, they will be able to determine which early brain and behavioral signs are most associated with later difficulties, or even better, which aspects of early development can predict better outcome and recovery from the condition.

These findings confirm what parents have known, that even in very young children, ADHD is a real biological condition with pronounced physical and cognitive manifestations. By understanding the brains of children who grow into the disorder as well as those who grow out of it, researchers can begin to implement targeted, preventative interventions in young children with the goal of reducing adverse outcomes, or even reversing the course of this condition.

Category(s):Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Child and/or Adolescent Issues, Child Development

Source material from Science Daily

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