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How the Science of ADHD Is Advancing

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The science of ADHD is evolving and, with it, so is our understanding of the condition. Over the past 25 years, research has blossomed as institutions share data sets to combine and test earlier findings, says Dave Anderson, Ph.D., of the Child Mind Institute.The use of fMRI brain scans in ADHD research has helped scientists spot abnormalities in underlying neural networks and circuitries.

Differences in the default mode network (overactivity) and frontostriatal circuits (underactivity) of the ADHD brain remain key findings.“The default mode network (DMN) is one of the most fascinating and significant discoveries to come out of neuroscience in the past 20 years,” writes Edward Hallowell, M.D., in his ADDitude article, “ADHD’s Secret Demon — and How to Tame It.” “The DMN seems to be more active in those of us who have ADHD, and it may explain our tendency to make ‘careless’ mistakes.

In fact, when using a functional MRI, you can predict a mistake 20 seconds before it is made by watching for activity in the DMN.”The emergence of multiple large-scale, multi-site studies has called into question other previous conclusions from neuroscience research.

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