Are kids with ADHD just acting according to their brain age

brain size the problem in ADHDHow would you describe the symptoms of ADHD ?

  • Ants in pants syndrome
  • Trouble with a capital T
  • Disorderly and disruptive

By definition, ADHD or ADD is defined as “developmentally” inappropriate behaviour.

This definition explains why the youngest children in a class, often pick up the ADHD label, but it also hints that ADHD is actually a development problem.

Researchers from the National Institute of Health, set out to track the how brain development progressed in a whole lot of brains, using modern imaging techniques.

Measuring growing brains

The research team scanned 231 “normal” brains and 235 brains, which had been diagnosed with ADHD.

The sophisticated neuroimaging technology was able to measure 80 000 points during the scanning process, allowing the computer to quantify the cortical surface area.

The research team scanned each child’s brain a total of 4 times. The first scan was taken when the kids were around 10 years old, the last scan was performed when they were around 17 years old.

Brain development on a go slow

The team found that the development of the cortical surface was delayed in the frontal brain regions, in children with ADHD.

For example, “normal” children attain 50 % peak area in the right prefrontal cortex by the age of 12.7 years, but for children with ADHD, this milestone is only reached at 14.6 years.

So the trouble is not “developmentally” inappropriate behaviour, the behaviour is perfectly appropriate, for the stage of brain development.

This begs the question…… why is the brain developing more slowly and does it ever catch up ?

Catching up

Developing a human brain is a monumental task, which is only accomplished at the ripe old age of twenty two years. NEW ONE ON BRAIN DEVELOPEMNT

At this stage it is unclear whether the ADHD brain’s eventually catch up or whether the delay translates into a long-lasting cortical deficit.

Since the majority of individuals diagnosed with ADHD report “out growing” the problem, it seems likely, most brain’s eventually manage to catch up, or learn to work around their deficiencies.

How do you help a brain catch up ?

Feed it properly…..

Brain’s are fuelled by sugar, but they are made of fat. Approx 25 % of the cholesterol in your body is found in the brain.

Brain needs less sugar and more fat

ADHD is a relatively new phenomenon. It officially became a recognized disease in 1980. Today, between 5-8 % of children in the Western world are diagnosed with the condition.

ADHD’s rise, parallels the obesity epidemic – are they connected ?

One of the factors that has contributed to the rise in obesity, is the vilification of fat, with the advice to follow a low fat, high carbohydrate diet.

But it turns out, low fat twinkies are not good for the waist, maybe they’re also not good for the brain.

Development of Cortical Surface Area and Gyrification in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 2012; 72 (3): 191. Philip Shaw, Meaghan Malek, Bethany Watson, Wendy Sharp, Alan Evans, Deanna Greenstein

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind ADHD  ?

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Further reading

cholesterol resusitating a dopaminergic neuron too much iron turns baby into a dunce high fat soccer player beats out low fat player
The brain is a big fan of cholesterol, shouldn’t you be too ? Too much iron can turn your child into a dunce Use peanuts to power gold medal sports performances

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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