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Description: Is attention deficit disorder a true brain disorder or a functional disorder based on such things as lack of motivation and insufficient training and attention management? This article addresses part of this question.

Source: A peek at Brain Connections May Reveal Attention Deficits, Shots: Health News from APR, Jon Hamilton

Date: November 30, 2015

ADHD and Brain

Photo Credit: IStock,

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While it is been generally thought that attention deficit disorder or ADHD is likely a brain-based Challenger disability, the evidence supporting this view has been somewhat slow to arrive. The research article upon which this media report is based argues that they have taken a step in the direction of sorting this issue out. Using functional MRI imaging techniques they monitored the brains of 25 typical people while they did an incredibly boring task. He then examined the brain scan data on just over 100 children and adolescents looking for characteristic differences between these two populations. The researchers looked specifically at the connections between regions of the brain and found they were able to fairly consistently discern the difference between the ADHD and non-ADHD brain scans. For many of the participants the researchers were able to predict who had ADHD but also how severe the problem was within those individuals who carried an ADHD diagnosis. While the technique requires further study before being viewed as a potential diagnostic tool the results are certainly suggestive.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are your general beliefs about the nature of ADHD and its underlying causes?
  2. What did the researchers in the article discussed here believe they have discovered about the nature of the brains of ADHD children?
  3. If the results of this study are supported through replication and extension, what might some of the implications be for the identification and treatment of ADHD?

References (Read Further):

Rosenberg, M. D.*, Finn, E. S.*, Scheinost, D., Papademetris, X., Shen, X., Constable, R. T., Chun, M. M. (In press). A neuromarker of sustained attention from whole-brain functional connectivity. Nature Neuroscience.