Skip to main content
CNN.com CNN.com -- Health
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions
CNN Medical Unit: Daily Dose (What's this?)
Get the reporting, research and analysis behind on-air stories straight from the CNN Medical Unit, led by chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Brain with ADHD develops differently

    • Some brain regions of kids with ADHD are delayed in maturing, says study
    • Their brains are delayed an average of three years compared to those without ADHD
    • Delay is most evident in brain regions that control thinking, attention and planning
  • Bottom Line: This may explain why some kids seem to grow out of the disorder
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
Certain regions of the brain are delayed in development by three years for youth with ADHD.

Certain regions of the brain are delayed in development by three years for youth with ADHD.

Overview

A National Institutes of Health study from November 2007 found that in youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the brain matures in a normal pattern. However, it is delayed three years in some regions, on average, compared with youth without the disorder. The researchers used a new image analysis technique that allowed them to pinpoint the thinning and thickening of sites in the cortex of the brains of hundreds of children and teens with and without the disorder. The findings bolster the idea that ADHD results from a delay in the maturation of the cortex.

Questions and answers

How does the brain development of kids to ADHD compare with that of other kids?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent: For years, the big question with ADHD has been: Are these kids' brains developing more slowly or are they developing in a completely different way? This NIH study tells us the kids' brains develop more slowly, especially those areas important for control, action and attention. For example, a child who has a healthy brain might achieve maturity in those regions at age 7, while a child with ADHD might not until age 10. What is important to note about both the "healthy" brain and the "ADHD" brain is that they mature or develop in pretty much the same way, starting from the back to the front. However, the ADHD brain is maturing much more slowly than the brain that does not have ADHD.

What can parents of children with ADHD learn from this?

advertisement

Gupta: The good news for parents: Your child's brain is developing the same way as the brain of a healthy child, but it may take a few years longer. They will probably outgrow the behaviors that come with ADHD. Will your kids ever catch up with kids who don't have ADHD? They may, but it might be well after adolescence or into adulthood. These brain studies are ongoing.

Does this mean a brain scan might one day help diagnose ADHD?

Gupta: We are not at the point of using this as a diagnostic tool, but this information is very important for understanding ADHD. Knowing that this slower development is an issue, we may one day see treatments that try to accelerate this process. We could also see a dulling of impulsivity such as those inappropriate actions that we see in kids with ADHD.

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.

Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.