Sex-based differences in the development of brain hubs involved in memory and emotion

The amygdala and the hippocampus — structures in the brain that are involved in emotion, learning, and memory — have been found to play a role in a diverse range of disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Research investigating the development of these two structures has shown that differences in age, sex, and pubertal status affect the bulk volume of these brain structures. However, researchers have yet to understand the dynamics of volume and shape change that occur between childhood and early adulthood.

“Because the amygdala and hippocampus have been so often implicated in psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders from childhood through young adulthood, it’s especially important to understand how brain development occurs in healthy people, so we have a stronger comparative framework for when the process goes awry in disease,” said co-first author Ari M. Fish, a former Postbaccalaureate Research Fellow in the Developmental Neurogenomics Unit, part of the NIMH’s Intramural Research Program.

Full story at Science Daily

Concerta vs. Adderall: What’s the difference?

Concerta and Adderall are stimulant medications that a doctor may prescribe for a person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. They can also help a person with narcolepsy.

Stimulants work by helping regulate the chemicals in a person’s brain that support thinking and paying attention.

Although they have many associated side effects, stimulants are generally safe and effective at treating the symptoms of ADHD.

In this article, learn about the differences between Concerta and Adderall, including the effects and dosage.

Full story at Medical News Today

Children with autism may be over-diagnosed with ADHD, new study suggests

A well-established screening tool used to assess children for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be less accurate when a child has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Pediatric researchers report that children with ASD may mistakenly be diagnosed with ADHD because they have autism-related social impairments rather than problems with attention. This is important for understanding what are the right services and treatments for a child.

The study team, including one of the psychologists who developed the ADHD screening tool, concludes that the tool needs to be refined to better identify the correct disorder, and that clinicians should supplement the screening tool with careful clinical interviews.

Full story of autism over-diagnosed with ADHD at Science Daily

Fact or fiction: Dispelling the myths and misconceptions of ADHD

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common condition diagnosed mainly in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6.4 million children between four and 17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. While many have heard of this condition, there are myths that surround the disorder and a certain stigma still exists. Joshua Cabrera, MD, clinical psychiatrist and assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, helps break down what the condition is—and what it isn’t.

Fiction: My child is hyper, they probably have ADHD

Children are inherently energetic, sometimes even rowdy. If unruly behavior is the only symptom, then it’s difficult for a professional to say that their problem is truly a mental illness.

Full story of fact or fiction of ADHD at Science Daily

Ouch! Avoiding failure leads to missed opportunities for children with ADHD

Growing up is a challenging task full of great achievements and missteps. Sometimes it is not clear what the best course of action might be, but people around us — parents and teachers — help by giving us feedback about our behaviour. Generally, we repeat the actions that get rewarded, and try not to engage in the ones that get reproved. However, it is hard to always make the best choice.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are potentially more exposed to reproaches than typically developing children. Their difficulties with focusing, elevated activity levels and impulsive actions often get them into trouble with their parents, teachers and friends. This makes it important to find out how punishment affects the behaviour of children with ADHD. Are they more sensitive to punishment, or are they less sensitive to punishment? A team of researchers from Japan and New Zealand presented children with ADHD and typically developing children with a computer-based game that involved reward and punishment. The results of this study are published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Full story of missed opportunities for children with ADHD at Science Daily

Squirm with purpose: Fidgeting is helpful for ADHD patients, study shows

Teachers have long struggled to get children to sit still at their desks. But for children with ADHD, those orders might be counterproductive.

That’s the research focus of Florida State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Michael Kofler, who is developing new, non-medication treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). New research by Kofler at FSU’s Children’s Learning Clinic shows that children often fidget or move when they are trying to solve a problem, and that movement may have a positive effect on children with ADHD.

“We really wanted to drill down and find what was causing the hyperactivity,” Kofler said.

The results will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders, but is currently available online.

Full story of fidgeting to assist ADHD at Science Daily

Researchers urge caution in prescribing commonly used drug to treat ADHD

Authors of new Cochrane Review remain uncertain about effect of widely used medicine on ADHD symptoms, despite large amount of research. Some evidence of increased sleeplessness and loss of appetite leads researchers to encourage more caution in use of methylphenidate. The Cochrane Library publishes one of the most comprehensive assessments to date on the benefits and harms of a widely prescribed drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence into adulthood.

Symptoms include difficulty focusing attention and remaining “on task,” excessively impulsive behaviour, and extreme hyperactivity. It is estimated to affect about 5% of children, and diagnosis is based on clinical judgement rather than objective diagnostic markers.