Youngsters diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) lack concentration, patience, and organizational skills. A new study reveals that the brains of these children are slightly smaller than those of their peers who are free of psychiatric disorders.
This disparity is most pronounced for the children and teenagers with ADHD who have never taken a stimulant medication, such as Ritalin, say psychiatrist F. Xavier Castellanos of New York University and his colleagues.
Overall, kids with ADHD had total brain volumes about 3 percent less than those of unaffected youngsters. Brain development followed parallel paths for participants with and without ADHD, but the 3 percent disparity in brain volume stayed constant.
Never-medicated children with ADHD also exhibited smaller white-matter volume in the brain than did both those taking stimulants and those free of mental ailments. White matter, which grows thicker as a child matures, consists of fibers th