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PoliCon
03-18-2009, 11:51 AM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Researchers trying to uncover the mechanisms that cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder have found an abnormality in the brains of adolescent boys suffering from the conditions, but not where they expected to find it.

Boys with either or both of these disorders exhibited a different pattern of brain activity than normally developing boys when they played a simple game that sometimes gave them a monetary reward for correct answers, according to a new study by a University of Washington research team.

The research focused on two brain areas, the striatum and anterior cingulate cortex. The striatal region is a network of structures in the mid brain that motivates people to engage in pleasurable or rewarding behavior. The anterior cingulate is higher in the brain and normally activates when an expected reward stops. However, this process, called extinction, doesn't occur, at least as quickly, in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity or conduct disorders. Instead, the striatal region continues to be activated, said Theodore Beauchaine, a UW associate professor of psychology and senior author of the paper.

"When children engage in impulsive behavior they are looking to stimulate themselves and have fun. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are always looking to have fun and that is what gets them in trouble," he said. "A behavior should stop when the reward stops. When you stop the reward for children with these disorders, they continue to focus on the reward long afterward and the anterior cingulate does not appear to become activated."

CONTINUED (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090317142845.htm)
That explains a lot . . . . .

noonwitch
03-18-2009, 12:43 PM
If this research ends up being valid, I hope it translates into a way of testing for the biological condition that is ADHD, instead of labelling kids with excess energy with that condition. It would cut down on the numbers of diagnoses of ADHD and the number of prescriptions for medication.

Kids who just have too much energy (mostly boys) by school standards just need more physical activity. A Schwinn is a better present than a Wii. Little League is better than watching television.