Translate ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Translate or Decode ADHD: it is all about the brain!
Translate ADHD – into brain disorder

This series about ADHD is my first attempt to create a series.  I hope that you enjoy watching it just as much as I have enjoyed creating it.  The reason for this series is kind of personal, but I know there are a multitude of moms and dads who has experienced the same humiliation about themselves or their child who has ADHD.  There are still too many people out there who beliefs that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or other social influences or even bad diets.  For those of you who aren’t blessed with ADHD, I hope to give you some insight to ADHD and change your prejudices about children or adults you know with ADHD.  For those of you who has been humiliated because you have been bestowed the gift of ADHD, I hope to encourage you to spread the message that our brains might not function like most people’s brains, but our brains can do many magnificent things others only dream about.

I am not a neurologist but I love to read about, and study the brain.  My curiosity about the brain was fired up when my son was diagnosed with ADHD.  I came to noticed that ADHD is common in our family and I wanted to know everything about ADHD and how the ADHD brain functions.

I don’t think inside the box. I don’t think outside the box either. I don’t even know where the box is.

Kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often believed to simply be difficult, and parents often feel they have failed their child in some way.  Since I recognize many of the same behavior patterns in my son’s life that I also recognize in myself and I know for sure that my parents did not fail me at all, I realized that I am also the best parent I can be for my son.

Brain-imaging

I started attending every seminar about ADHD that I could attend and I started reading every article about ADHD and other brain disorders that I could get my hands on.  There are a lot of significant studies I read, but the research by ENIGMA appeal to me most, because of the size of their research group.

The research was conducted by ENIGMA (Enhancing Nero Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis), an ADHD-working group which brings together scientists around the world and from various fields to study the brain. One weakness of the study was that it was not longitudinal, so could not reveal anything about how the disorder changes over time.

The authors say they hope the research might remove some of the misconceptions about the disorder, and put it on par with more commonly understood mental health issues. Hoogman and her colleagues wrote “We hope this work will contribute to a better understanding of ADHD in the general public, and that it becomes understandable as major depressive disorder, for example, and that ADHD will be labelled as a brain disorder.”

The largest brain-imaging study yet of people with ADHD may help to change this misconception about ADHD.  The research used brain images of 1,713 people who had been diagnosed with ADHD and 1,529 people who had not; participants were between four and 63 years old. The team of scientists looked at seven areas of the brain and found that for five of them, the volume of those regions was smaller in the brains with ADHD.

Five areas affected in ADHD brain

The five areas affected were the CAUDATE NUCLEUS (contributes to behavior through the excitation of correct action schema and the selection of appropriate sub-goals based on an evaluation of action-outcomes), PUTAMEN (sub serve cognitive functions more limited to stimulus-response, or habit learning), NUCLEUS ACCUMBENS (play an important role in laughter, pleasure, addiction, fear but most commonly it is said to be involved in “reward” or “reinforcement”), AMYGDALA (responsible for the perception of emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness, as well as the controlling of aggression. The amygdala helps to store memories of events and emotions so that an individual may be able to recognize similar events in the future) and HIPPOCAMPUS (is associated with motivation and emotional problems).

The results from the study confirm that people with ADHD have differences in their brain structure and therefore suggest that ADHD is a disorder of the brain. Hoogman hoped the findings will help reduce certain social stigma associated with ADHD notably that the disorder is the result of poor parenting or bad kids.

Arthur Caye, a psychiatry PhD student at the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil published research on ADHD.  “Many people doubt not only the existence of the disorder, but also its biological basis,” he says. ”Caye’s research is another big confirmation that ADHD is a disorder of the brain and the research will help eliminate the stigma that ADHD is something created socially.”  Caye says the finding around the amygdala was particularly interesting, as researchers have known that many children suffered from poor emotional regulation, but that imaging had not connected the dots. “These new results make sense in terms of psychopathology, or how a disease works,” he said.  Caye also noted the importance of the amygdala finding, because emotional regulation problems are not part of the current official diagnosis for ADHD. They hope that might change.

Recent study using DTI found abnormalities in the fiber pathways

A recent study using DTI found abnormalities in the fiber pathways in the FRONTAL CORTEX (ability to initiate and carry out new and goal-directed patterns of behavior, sustained attention, short-term memory tasks, inhibitory control of interference, filtering mechanism for information processing working memory, stimulus detection and sequencing tasks, planning, flexibility, delayed responding, and active problem solving. Executive functions are closely linked to emotional regulation as well. “Somatic markers” enable the individual to “learn by experience”), BASAL GANGLIA (engaged primarily in motor control, together with a wider variety of roles such as motor learning, executive functions and behavior, and emotions), BRAIN-STEM (regulation of heart rate, breathing, sleeping, and eating. It also plays a role in transmission. The brain-stem also has integrative functions, including cardiovascular system control, respiratory control, pain sensitivity control, alertness, awareness, and consciousness), and CEREBELLUM (evaluates sensory information about the environment and about the system itself before the output commands are generated. The cerebellum also control muscle tone, posture and equilibrium, and voluntary movements.)

The findings suggest that specific brain circuits that connect different areas of the brain may be altered in people with ADHD. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that people with ADHD often have problems with regulating attention, behavior, and learning. http://enigma.ini.usc.edu/

In the video series I explain the brain and different functions of the brain in more detail, please watch the videos and send me some comments about your thoughts. It is always spectacular to hear how people perceive ADHD.  This is a series of 4 videos with added bonus videos to follow.

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