Brain abnormality found in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

March 17, 2009

Researchers trying to uncover the mechanisms that cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder have found an abnormality in the brains of adolescent boys suffering from the conditions, but not where they expected to find it.

Boys with either or both of these disorders exhibited a different pattern of activity than normally developing when they played a simple game that sometimes gave them a monetary reward for correct answers, according to a new study by a University of Washington research team.

The research focused on two , the striatum and anterior cingulate cortex. The striatal region is a network of structures in the mid brain that motivates people to engage in pleasurable or rewarding behavior. The anterior cingulate is higher in the brain and normally activates when an expected reward stops. However, this process, called extinction, doesn't occur, at least as quickly, in boys with or conduct disorders. Instead, the striatal region continues to be activated, said Theodore Beauchaine, a UW associate professor of psychology and senior author of the paper.

"When children engage in impulsive behavior they are looking to stimulate themselves and have fun. Children with attention deficit are always looking to have fun and that is what gets them in trouble," he said. "A behavior should stop when the reward stops. When you stop the reward for children with these disorders, they continue to focus on the reward long afterward and the anterior cingulate does not appear to become activated."

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common mental disorders among children, affecting between 3 and 5 percent of school-age youngsters, or an estimated 2 million.

The researchers used to compare brain activity in 19 boys with either or both disorders and 11 normally developing boys. The adolescents ranged in age from 12 to 16.

Their brains were scanned while they played the game. The boys looked at a screen and there was a button under each of their thumbs. When a light flashed on the left or right side of the screen they were instructed to press the button on that side. The screen lit up very fast, up to 100 times a minute. The boys received five cents for each correct response and could win up to $50. They were not penalized for wrong answers and their accumulated winnings showed up on the screen.

Each boy had four five-minute blocks of trials. The first and third trials involved opportunities to earn money. The second and fourth trials did not involve winning money, but the boys were told to keep playing the game because the game would change at some point.

Beauchaine said there was no difference in the accuracy or speed - the behavioral response - between the two groups. But there was a difference in brain activation. When the non-reward blocks came up the anterior cingulate lit up for normally developing boys, but those with either of the disorders, which frequently co-occur, continued to only show activation in the striatum.

"This shows there is an abnormality, but not in the place we expected to find it. We expected to find a difference in the way the striatum functions, but instead found it in anterior cingulate functioning," said Beauchaine.

More information: The study appears in the current issue of The Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Source: University of Washington (news : web)

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3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2009
ADHD I think should be called TBS. Typical Boy Syndrom. I just finished coaching a grade 1 team, it was interesting that 3 of the boys at the start of the season, wouldnt listen, didnt follow rules, had limited attention. By the end of the season they all listened, paid attention, and followed the rules.

How did that happen? I demanded it of them. If they didnt listen. I pulled them aside and made it clear by doing special drills with them that they had to listen. The parents were amazed that they listened and even the teacher of the kids was amazed they listened.

Expecting kids to listen letting the kids know what you expect, changing tactics to get them to listen, working with them, and respecting them, works wonders.
not rated yet Mar 18, 2009
It would be interesting to find out if this is environment, genetics, or a mix...

But in regard to what freethinking mentioned, that assumes environment. So does anyone want to test if different parenting techniques correlate to this? Wood paddle behind the barn or more lax "kinder" techniques.
1 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2009
question the source of where ADHD comes from. How does it come to be in the human body, with regards to origins. Does it involve vaccinations as youths?

And then..who created those vaccines and who are they, the vaccine creators.... connected to?

And then, if you put that youth (as an adult) in a uniform, and told them what to do, how would they act? Would they continue to do nasty things with no change as the reward is inherently, nearly permanently - there, in their brains?

I mean, what are we looking at, here? Who and what created this 'youth corps'?

Some people have longer to enact and bigger plans than you do. Don't discount this musing as being 'off the far end', as that is an emotional analysis, not a logical one. Think it through. Look at the recent group of people and companies..and how they are the real issue..of this H5N1 vaccine that somehow... somehow..somehow..managed to be delivered into 18 a 'flu vaccine'.

The possibility of that happening by accident are so remote to be utterly ridiculous. There is no escaping the fact that this release of a mixed H5N1 and Flu Vaccine was purposeful-with extreme intent.

Now..go back and look at were ADHD comes from (origins and companies involved), how it affects reward centers and what is the result in an adult human..and what those adult humans would be useful for.

Think about it.
4 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2009
KBK, please this is not a conspiracy site. Just because the number of ADH cases has risen doesn't mean a conspiracy. Simply put we just put a name to it and started looking for it. Once you start looking, of course you will identify more cases.

Before defining the ADH label we just called them trouble makers.
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2009
As a parent (step-father) of a 14-year old boy that REALLY does have ADD (as well as 3 other children), *freethinking*, I am insulted by your flippant dismissal of this disorder as being mere Typical Boy Syndrome!
I am a strict parent, believing that discipline is what helps the boys become men. But simply telling an ADD-afflicted child what he should be doing is not enough. In your case I believe peer pressure worked in your favor.
In my son's words, it's like having to listen to every sound at once while also consciously noticing every little thing around you, and then trying to focus on only one, such as the teacher's voice, amid a sea a distractions! We finally resorted to Concerta (a type of Ritalin), and it actually enables him to concentrate long enough so that he can make it through school.
I see my son's disorder in this article, and can assure you that it is real!
1 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2009
KBK, please this is not a conspiracy site. Just because the number of ADH cases has risen doesn't mean a conspiracy. Simply put we just put a name to it and started looking for it. Once you start looking, of course you will identify more cases.

Before defining the ADH label we just called them trouble makers.

And now....the US's Government 'House'..just passed the 'mandatory service bill' for all youths. Have to sort those Kids out, now, don't we? They have to find and sort those 'prospects'.
So tell me I'm crazy one more time...due to you not having the ability to look deeper into things..due to it making you uncomfortable.

As stated, some people have longer and deeper plans than you do--or that you are capable of discerning.

The greatest sin a man can commit against himself and the to posses the foolishness to judge what is real in the the limits of his own intelligence.

They are all now at the 'perfect' age, for the most part.

Carpe Diem!
1 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2009
Let's state this a bit more clearly: I have had no vaccinations, as a youth. I am unique in this respect, with regards to my siblings.

My IQ is in the 200 range, which is notably better than that of my siblings.

5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2009
Let's state this a bit more clearly: I have had no vaccinations, as a youth. I am unique in this respect, with regards to my siblings.
I've had all my vaccinations and I do not have any mental detriment, however my younger sibling hasn't had any except the required vaccinations for attending public schools and he has ADHD.

ADHD is purported to be a malfunction in one of the ion channels in the brain through which dopamine flows in the wrong direction. Rather than having a calming effect it produces listlessness and anxiety.

My IQ is in the 200 range, which is notably better than that of my siblings.

Better call Guinness Book, because you must be the world's smartest man.

So is that your "deviance IQ" or your "ratio IQ"? When did you take the test last? Was it a Wechsler test? What race are you? Where are you from? How old were you when you took the test? Have you been tested multiple times?

There's very little value in your IQ score. IQ is a measure of your ability to adapt to new environments and systems and alter your behavior in one of over 40 different categories. Your average low rent con man has an above average IQ while your typical specialized scientist is average or sometimes below. Unless you're under the age of 20, there's no way you have an IQ over 200 by any sort of reliable measure or testing.

For hypothetical example, on the deviance IQ style of testing I rank a 183. Sounds impressive, but it's not, the current average is 146 under this testing scope.
On the ratio IQ test I perform reasonably well, typically pulling down around a 152, where the average for my environment, race, and socio-economic status is 116.

Oh and by the way, "genius", IQ is completely unrelated to attention span or true cognitive ability.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2009
Arkin, Freethinking, and DGBeach, I agree with all of you.

I think that ADHD is a real thing, but that it is often positively misdiagnosed. It is too easy to mislabel behavioral problems.

It would be interesting to see the data used in this research. How did they determine that the diagnosis' in their samples were correct? What was their criteria? If they are right, perhaps they have identified a new testing process that would be more accurate.

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