Why ADHD Isn't Due to Bad Parenting

Feb 17, 2017, 00:23
Why ADHD Isn't Due to Bad Parenting

The Lancet authors said the next stage of research will be to design a study that can track ADHD sufferers as they grow up to understand how their brains develop.

The condition is linked with inattention, hyperactivity and strong impulses and is thought to affect one in 20 under-18s.

The study revealed that the brains of children with ADHD were slightly smaller in at least five regions, including those regions that are responsible for controlling emotions, understanding and voluntary movements.

Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have several brain regions that are slightly smaller than usual, more evidence that the disorder should be considered a neurological condition, a new study says.

"The results from our study confirm that people with ADHD have differences in their brain structure and therefore suggest that ADHD is a disorder of the brain", said the study's lead author, Martine Hoogman of Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands". "Similar differences in brain volume are also seen in other psychiatric disorders, especially major depressive disorder", Hoogman explained. The differences were more prominent in children but continued into adulthood.

Hoogman hopes that these results will provide more understanding about ADHD and disprove certain stigmas about the disorder, such as that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or simply a label given to hard children.

The study is the largest review of ADHD patients' brain scans ever conducted.

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The study involved 1,713 people with ADHD and 1,529 without the condition, aged from 4 to 63 years old.

"The brain differences are very small, about a few percent smaller".

According to them, the amygdala's connection to ADHD is through the brain region's role in emotion regulation while the nucleus accumbens is related to emotional and motivational problems with the condition because of the role it plays in reward processing.

Based on the findings of Hoogman and her team, there appeared to be no noticeable difference in brain size or volume, suggesting that the brain changes were not caused by psychostimulants. In a linked comment article, he points out that the uniquely large size of the study means that it is "well powered to detect small effect sizes", which is important when investigating ADHD because of its varied biological and clinical nature.

Notably, no differences were found in the brain size of people who took ADHD drugs and those who did not.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Jonathan Posner hailed the findings.

People with ADHD have a part of their brains that is less developed.