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More Delays in Brain Growth Seen With ADHD
Date:8/15/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have uncovered more evidence that certain types of delays in brain development seem to be related to a heightened risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

A new study appearing in the current issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry found that development of the cortical surface -- which covers the region of the brain known as the cerebral cortex -- was slower in children with ADHD.

This complements previous research from the same team of scientists that found normal childhood thickening of the cerebral cortex also is delayed in the brains of children with ADHD.

At this point, the findings have no clinical implications but they may one day help point to genes that control the timing of brain development, said study author Philip Shaw, head of the Neurobehavioral Clinical Research Section at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

That, in turn, may lead to new insight into how to help kids with ADHD.

"This is more about understanding the causes and the underlying changes in the brain that happen with ADHD," added Jennifer Vannest, assistant professor of neurology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Vannest was not involved with the study.

Shaw and his colleagues did multiple brain-imaging scans of 234 children with ADHD and 231 normally developing children who served as controls. Scans began when the children were about 10 years old and continued until they were 17.

Kids with ADHD did not reach "peak" development in the cortical surface until 14.6 years of age, compared with 12.7 years in normally developing kids.

"In healthy kids, the surface of the gray matter -- the cortex -- increases during adolescence, reaches a peak, then stabilizes into adult dimensions," Shaw explained.

This report, added to the previous findings on cortical thickness, suggest that
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