This is your brain on ADHD

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Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Observational study: A study in which the subject is observed to see if there is a relationship between two or more things (eg: the consumption of diet drinks and obesity). Observational studies cannot prove that one thing causes another, only that they are linked.

Case study: A study involving observations of a single patient or group of patients.

People: This is a study based on research using people.

US scientists say they’ve found patterns of connectivity between brain cells that accompany the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The team analysed brain scans of more than 6,000 kids using a new technique that allowed them to look at more of the brain than ever before. They hope their findings will aid in future brain scanning studies of other conditions, as well as provide an insight into how ADHD affects the brain.

Journal/conference: JNeurosci

Link to research (DOI): 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1202-23.2023

Organisation/s: Oregon Health & Science University, USA

Funder: National Institute of Mental Health of the
66 National Institutes of Health under award numbers: R01MH115357 (Fair and Nigg), R37MH059105
67 (Nigg), R01MH131685 (Mooney and Nigg), U01DA041148 (Fair, Nagel, Feldstein Ewing), U24DA041123
68 (Fair).

Media release

From: Society for Neuroscience

ADHD on the brain

Human imaging study uses a large sample size and a new analytical approach to thoroughly examine the relationship between ADHD and the brain.

The way the neurons in your brain communicate with each other reveals a lot about how your brain functions and is representative of many of your behaviors. Aspects of neuron communication, or connectivity, can be observed by imaging the brain. Scientists have long been imaging the brains of those with neurological disorders to examine how brain structure and connectivity compare to those that do not have these disorders, and to determine if these attributes can predict neurological disorder onset. Human imaging studies related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are hindered by small experimental groups as well as inconsistent methods and results, which make it hard to draw conclusions. In this study, researchers addressed these issues. Michael Mooney and colleagues from Oregon Health and Science University developed a new way of analyzing imaging data covering broader areas of the brain than ever before and used it to examine imaging data from over 6,000 children. They found brain-wide connectivity patterns representative of patients with ADHD symptomology. Not only do their findings advance our understanding of ADHD-associated connectivity across the brain, but they may also inform imaging studies for other neurological disease states.

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