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Atypical Brain Connectivity Linked to ADHD: NIH Study

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March 27, 2024ADHD symptoms in children are associated with unusual interactions between the frontal cortex and deep centers of the brain where information is processed, according to a recent report in the American Journal of Psychiatry.1 These findings may help inform additional research into the ADHD brain that leads to more effective treatments and interventions.A research team from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Human Genome Research found children with ADHD demonstrated heightened connectivity between brain structures involved in learning, movement, and reward, and frontal areas of the brain that regulate emotion, attention, and behavior.“The present findings suggest that these brain alterations are specifically associated with ADHD and are not indicative of general features of childhood psychopathology or influenced by comorbid symptoms,” the study’s authors wrote.Researchers have long suspected that ADHD symptoms result from atypical interactions between the frontal cortex and these deep information-processing brain structures.

However, the study’s authors noted that prior studies testing this model returned mixed results, possibly due to the small size of the studies they suggested.The present study examined more than 10,000 functional brain images of 1,696 youth with ADHD and 6,737 without ADHD aged 6 to 18.

It was the “largest study to date on changes in subcortical-cortical connectivity in ADHD,” the study’s authors wrote.The findings underscore the need for more research regarding the association between brain connectivity and ADHD symptoms, the genetic aspects of ADHD, and how brain connectivity patterns relate to treatment outcomes.1Luke J.

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