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According to PsychCentral, a previous study found that thickening of the cerebral cortex (cerebral cortex) is delayed in children diagnosed with ADHD.

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They explain that areas in the cerebral cortex are related to functions such as attention, thinking (cognition), language and processing of sensory impressions (sensory processing). In other words: the cerebral cortex is a central brain structure in relation to ADHD.

Two important dimensions of the cerebral cortex are thickness and surface area, both of which mature during childhood as part of a normal brain development.


New study: The surface of the cerebral cortex is also developed later in ADHD

In a new study, published in Biological Psychiatry, the researchers wanted to expand the study, which had already shown that the thickness of the cerebral cortex has a delayed development in ADHD.

They wanted to investigate the extent to which the development of the surface area of ​​the cerebral cortex is also delayed in a similar way. To do this they recruited 234 children with ADHD and 231 typically developed children. Each child had their brain scanned four times, from the age of about 10 until they were 17 years old.

The conclusion was that the surface of the cerebral cortex is delayed in frontal areas in children with ADHD. An example: where normally developed children were in development at 12,7 years, ADHD children only came when they were 14,6 years. 

In other words, the development of the cerebral cortex surface area was delayed by about two years in ADHD.


A general delay of attention-related parts of the brain in ADHD

Since other parts of the cerebral cortex are also delayed, this finding suggests that in ADHD there is a general delay in brain areas that are important for controlling action and attention, says Dr. Philip Shaw, lead author of the study, at the National Institute of Mental Health.

These findings underscore the importance of longitudinal approaches to brain structure, says Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry.

As we have now demonstrated that there is a lag in brain development in ADHD, it becomes important to now try to understand the reasons for this delayed development in ADHD.

The researchers believe that the findings suggest that genes that regulate the timing of brain development are related to the development of ADHD.

Therefore, Shaw believes that researchers should "look for genes that regulate the timing of brain development, and in this way pave the way for new forms of treatment."



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