Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore who are examining the neurological basis underpinning attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have shown that children with the condition have less activation in the brain region used to rapidly switch behavior.
Fifty children ages 8 to 13 were assessed in the study, half of whom have ADHD and half of whom are typically developing. As they watched a video screen, they were asked to press a button quickly if they saw a green spaceship, but to not press the button if the spaceship was red.
Researchers only saw differences between the two groups when the children had to select not to respond, which required them to actively switch their behavior and use circuits in the brain critical for response selection.
A report in the March issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience says the findings suggest that abnormalities in brain circuits important for motor-response selection contribute to problems for children with ADHD.
A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2008 edition of Education Week