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Brain imaging study of preschoolers with ADHD detects brain differences linked to symptoms
Date:6/9/2011

(Baltimore, MD) In a study published today in the Clinical Neuropsychologist (e-publication ahead of print), researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute found differences in the brain development of preschool children with symptoms of Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Results showed the region of the brain important for cognitive and motor control was smaller in these children than in typically developing children. Novel for its use of neuroimaging in very young, preschool age children with early symptoms of ADHD, this study's examination of brain differences may offer new insights into potential early interventions for the disorder.

ADHD is the single most common child behavioral diagnosis, affecting approximately 2 million children. This highly prevalent developmental disorder is characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity. By age 4, as many as 40 percent of children have sufficient problems with attention to be of concern to parents and preschool teachers. This observation is important, as children whose symptoms begin in early childhood are at high risk for academic failure and grade repetition.

Since preschool children with symptoms of ADHD are at significant risk for social and academic difficulties compared to typically developing children, researchers set out to determine how to identify the disorder as early as possible in order to begin intervention earlier and facilitate better outcomes. Previous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have provided some insights into brain differences associated with ADHD, but these have almost exclusively focused on children ages 7 and older.

In the current study, researchers examined brain images in preschoolers (ages 4 and 5) both with and without symptoms of ADHD, specifically looking at cortical and basal ganglia volumes and the size of these particular areas of the brain. Researchers analyzed high resolution MRI brain images in 26 pre
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Contact: Colleen Butz
cbutz@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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