For the first time, scientists can point to substantial empirical evidence that people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have brain structures that differ from those of people without ADHD. The common disorder, they conclude, should be considered a problem of delayed brain maturation and not, as it is often portrayed, a problem of motivation or parenting.
In conducting the largest brain imaging study of its kind, an international team of researchers found that ADHD involves decreased volume in key brain regions, in particular the amygdala, which is responsible for regulating the emotions. Although the study…included children, adolescents and adults, the scientists said the greatest differences in brain volume appeared in the brains of children.
“I think most scientists in the field already know that the brains of people with ADHD show differences, but I now hope to have shown convincing evidence…that will reach the general public and show that it has [a basis in the brain] just like other psychiatric disorders. … We know that ADHD deals with stigma, but we also know that increasing knowledge will reduce stigma,” said geneticist Martine Hoogman of Radboud University in the Netherlands.
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