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Brain Pathways Seem Disrupted in Kids With ADHD
Date:11/28/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The brains of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show abnormalities in certain areas involved with "visual attention," new research finds.

Researchers performed functional MRIs (fMRIs) on 19 children aged 9 to 15 diagnosed with ADHD and 19 without the disorder while the children took a test in which they were shown a set of numbers and then asked to remember whether a subsequent group of numbers matched the original.

The test requires children to pay attention and stay focused in order to remember the original set, said lead study author Xiaobo Li, an assistant professor of radiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

An fMRI is a specialized type of MRI used to measure brain activity.

The scans showed that the kids with ADHD had less activity in the frontal lobe, parietal lobe and temporal lobe, which is "consistent with previous studies that showed reduced activations in those same regions," Li said. Those brain regions have also been associated with attention and working memory, she added.

Children with ADHD also showed differences in brain connectivity between regions, including "short-range," "long-range" and "across-hemisphere" abnormalities, she said.

"What this tells us is that children with ADHD are using partially different functional brain pathways to process this information, which may be caused by impaired white matter pathways involved in visual attention information processing," said Li, who plans to study the ability of children with ADHD to stay focused on auditory information, or what they hear, next.

The research is slated for presentation Monday at the Radiological Society of North America meeting in Chicago. The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed j
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