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Health Agencies Update
December 26, 2007

Delayed Development in ADHD

JAMA. 2007;298(24):2858. doi:10.1001/jama.298.24.2858-c

The development of brain regions responsible for attention and motor control is delayed by about 3 years in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but subsequently follows the same trajectory as brain development in typically maturing children, according to a longitudinal brain imaging study by researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health. The findings may explain why many children with the disorder outgrow it.

The cortical thickness at more than 40 000 sites in the brain was measured for 223 children with ADHD and 223 typically developing controls (Shaw P et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0707741104 [published online ahead of print November 16, 2007]). Each child underwent at least 2 magnetic resonance imaging sessions separated by intervals of 3 years.

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