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MRI shows disrupted connections in the brains of young people with ADHD
Date:4/29/2014

OAK BROOK, Ill. A new study has found that children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have disrupted connections between different areas of the brain that are evident on resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rfMRI). The results of this research are published online in the journal Radiology.

The findings point to the potential of rfMRI to help provide objectively accurate, early diagnosis of a disorder that affects approximately 5 percent of children and adolescents worldwide.

ADHD is a disorder characterized by age-inappropriate degrees of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Functional MRI studies, which measure brain activity when a person is focused on a particular task, have implicated the brain's frontostriatal circuit, a collection of neural pathways in the frontal lobe of the brain that helps control behavior. However, the specific brain physiology underlying ADHD remains poorly understood.

For the new study, researchers used rfMRI, a relatively new technique that assesses neural function when the brain is not focused on a specific task. The technique is useful for exploring the brain's functional organization independent of task performance.

The researchers compared rfMRI results in 33 boys with ADHD, ages 6 to 16, with those of 32 similarly aged, healthy controls. They correlated the MRI findings with results from tests of executive function, a term for the set of mental processes involved in planning, organizing, time management and regulating emotions, among other things. People with ADHD often have abnormal executive function.

The results showed that the patients with ADHD had altered structure and function located in areas of the brain like the orbitofrontal cortex, which is primarily involved in the cognitive processing of strategic planning, and the globus pallidus, which is involved in executive inhibitory control.

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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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