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Study finds ADHD affects motor skills of boys more than girls
Date:11/4/2008

ize one year earlier in girls than boys. Girls may "outgrow" ADHD-related motor skill deficits before age 7, the minimum age of girls enrolled in this study. It is also possible that the motor tests used in this study are more sensitive to the hyperactivity symptoms of ADHD. Boys with ADHD tend to have more hyperactivity, while girls generally have more inattentive and emotional control symptoms.

Two hundred sixty-eight children between the ages of 7 and 15 were studied, including 136 typically developing children and 132 children with ADHD. All of the children were tested on their speed, ability to keep rhythm and number of extraneous movements while completing simple motor tasks, such as finger-tapping and walking on their toes. Two hundred twenty-five of the children were also tested for inhibitory control, or the ability to over-ride automatic responses. The scores were then examined using linear regression analyses.

"Studying motor function is critical to understanding the causes and effects of developmental disorders such as ADHD," said Dr. Mahone. "Assessment of motor skills gives researchers a window into brain development, and allows us to more precisely understand the nature of cognitive difficulties in developmental disorders such as ADHD."

Given these study findings, future research examining the developmental patterns of executive and motor control in children with ADHD should look at boys and girls separately, and at younger ages, for a fuller understanding of female-specific patterns. Researchers involved in this study also recommend that future studies examine the association between motor skills performance and the neuroanatomic differences in children with ADHD revealed by MRI scans, while considering the different patterns in boys and girls.


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Contact: Megan Lustig
mlustig@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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