• Attention Deficit Disorder: Old questions, new answers

    It’s not uncommon these days to find news articles or published studies pertaining to Attention Deficit Disorder. Below is a very good article written and published by Harvard Health Publications. I cannot take any credit for the information within.

    ~ CoachRudy

    Attention deficit disorder: Old questions, new answers

    By Harvard Health Publications

    Despite persistent skepticism, the most common childhood psychiatric disorder is increasingly understood to be a brain malfunction. Different forms of the disorder may have different biological roots. New versions of older drugs are being introduced, and new drugs are being considered. Old and new concerns about the risks of drugs are raised, and there is now some evidence for alternative treatments. National, regional, and racial disparities in diagnosis and treatment persist and raise difficult questions.

    Discoveries in neuroscience are reinforcing a growing consensus that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as it is officially known, is not just a set of behavior problems but a biologically based disorder of brain function. The symptoms of impulsiveness, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity arise, this research suggests, because misfiring of the brain’s executive function — its management system — make it difficult to stay still, concentrate, and exercise forethought and self-control.

    ADHD is known to have a strong genetic component — one of the highest among psychiatric disorders — and several genetic markers are known. Similar symptoms have also been found in children with autism and fetal alcohol syndrome and even those exposed to nicotine in the womb. In two studies, ADHD-like symptoms appeared in 15 of 29 children who had strokes, and in 16% of children admitted to trauma centers after a head injury.

    Executive function involves so many brain pathways that its specific locations are not easy to tease out. But there’s evidence that in children with ADHD, the disturbance occurs in a circuit that runs between the frontal cortex, a seat of judgment and planning, and the basal ganglia, which control habitual actions and convey reward signals. In one study, brain scans of 10 children with ADHD indicated that they did not engage this network normally but used other parts of the brain when performing certain experimental tasks.

    Some experts regard the problem as inefficient reception of signals for delayed rewards. That causes impulsiveness, which in turn causes parents and teachers with high expectations to criticize and punish the child. After a while, the child stops trying to undertake projects that require long-range planning and never learns the necessary skills. So the motivation problem becomes a problem of executive function.

    *To read this entire article go to: http://health.msn.com/health-topics/adhd/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100124767

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