Boys have biological reason to be troublesome

Sep 25, 2007
Boys have biological reason to be troublesome
Children with ADHD have less activity in parietal brain areas while performing attention-demanding problem-solving tasks. Credit: UQ

A team of researchers working with UQ's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) has discovered more compelling evidence that attention-deficit disorder in young boys is substantially attributable to brain development.

UQ neuroscientist, Dr Ross Cunnington said there appeared to be a biological difference in young boys that made them more susceptible to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type (ADHD-CT).

“ADHD affects about three-to-five per cent of primary school aged children,” Dr Cunnington said.

“It is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in children and causes significant delay in educational and social development.”

In a study of boys aged eight-to-twelve, Dr Cunnington and a team of scientists from The University of Queensland and research centres in Victoria used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map the brain activity of each of the boys as they performed a mental rotation task.

The study focused on imaging the parietal lobe, a region of the brain known to become active when something distracts a person from performing or completing a given task.

“We're looking at the interaction that occurs in the brain between the pre-frontal and parietal lobes,” Dr Cunnington said.

“Interactions between these brain areas are crucial for maintaining and focusing attention.

“ADHD can be a problem for young boys because it means they don't do well at school, and there are often serious social consequences as well.

“Severe ADHD could at times lead to a young person becoming alienated from their friends and classmates – which can lead to low self-esteem and further disruptive behaviour.

“Overall, there is strengthening evidence that ADHD has a biological cause. It's not all bad parenting.”

The good news for parents is that most cases of ADHD reduce with age and there are already several effective therapeutic treatments which help control the condition's symptoms.

The Cunnington group's research "Right parietal dysfunction in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type: a functional MRI study" was published in a recent edition of Molecular Psychiatry.

Dr Cunnington established his laboratory at The University of Queensland in January 2007, where he is a Principal Research Fellow and works jointly in the School of Psychology and the Queensland Brain Institute.

Source: University of Queensland

Explore further: Intervention program helps prevent high-school dropouts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report: Better shields needed for private tax data

38 minutes ago

Federal investigators say the IRS and the states should improve how they protect the security of confidential tax information of people getting benefits under the 2010 health care law.

Coal-rich Poland ready to block EU climate deal

41 minutes ago

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels to set their new greenhouse gas emissions plan are facing staunch opposition from coal-reliant Poland and other East European countries who say their economies would ...

Some online shoppers pay more than others, study shows

1 hour ago

Internet users regularly receive all kinds of personalized content, from Google search results to product recommendations on Amazon. This is thanks to the complex algorithms that produce results based on users' profiles and ...

Researchers create designer 'barrel' proteins

1 hour ago

Proteins are long linear molecules that fold up to form well-defined 3D shapes. These 3D molecular architectures are essential for biological functions such as the elasticity of skin, the digestion of food, ...

Recommended for you

Intervention program helps prevent high-school dropouts

20 hours ago

New research findings from a team of prevention scientists at Arizona State University demonstrates that a family-focused intervention program for middle-school Mexican American children leads to fewer drop-out rates and ...

Bilingualism over the lifespan

21 hours ago

It's a scene that plays out every day in Montreal. On the bus, in schools, in the office and at home, conversations weave seamlessly back and forth between French and English, or one of the many other languages represented ...

User comments : 0