THURSDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as children have less gray matter in certain areas of their brains as adults than people who didn't have ADHD in their youth, researchers say.
"The majority of individuals with ADHD improve in adulthood, but it was still somewhat disappointing to see that even with improvement, there continue to be challenges for those with ADHD," said the study's lead author, Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.
Castellanos and his team also found a trend toward even more significant brain changes in people who continued to have ADHD symptoms as adults.
Results of the study are published in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
ADHD is a common childhood disorder, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. Symptoms include an inability to pay attention or focus, being easily distracted, becoming quickly bored, daydreaming a lot and hyperactive behavior.
Previous research has found reduced brain volume in children with ADHD, and those reductions are especially pronounced in areas of the brain that help regulate attention and emotion, according to background information in the study.
The current study included boys who had participated in an ongoing study that began in the 1970s. At that time, the study consisted of 207 white boys between the ages of 6 and 12 and 178 age-matched boys who didn't have ADHD to serve as the control group.
Castellanos's research included 59 of the study volunteers who'd had ADHD in their childhood and 80 who had not. Their average age was 41. Of the 59 with ADHD, 17 continued to have symptoms of ADHD as adults, according to the study.
The study volunteers underwent magnet
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