New Study: Kids with ADHD have Different Brain Development

Posted January 22, 2008 by

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There is some new, fascinating cutting edge research that says that kids with ADHD have different brain patterns than those without. Pictures have been taken of the human brain that clearly demonstrate the difference in cortex thickening between those with ADHD and a control group, and significant differences were found.

Do kids with ADHD fully catch up in development as adults? The answer awaits further studies with older children and young adults. Should imaging be used in the diagnosis of ADHD? The answer is “no.” This should be used for research only, even though they are being promoted to concerned parents. Currently, imaging studies lack diagnostic precision and can lead to false positive as well as false negative results, which may cause improper— and potentially harmful—approaches to treatment.

There are several takeaways from the study: (1) The findings support the notion that ADHD is a “real” condition with identifiable differences in brain development that correspond to developmental differences noted in the assessment of ADHD kids. (2) The data also verifies the soundness of the advice I give to parents in Total Focus to consider the developmental age of the child, with respect to expectations for certain behavior and intellectual skills. I believe this should always be factored in by the parent when providing age- appropriate consequences for inappropriate behavior.


Dr Robert Myers is a child psychologist with more than 25 years of experience working with children and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and learning disabilities and is the creator of the Total Focus Program. Dr Myers is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at UC Irvine School of Medicine. "Dr Bob" has provided practical information for parents as a radio talk show host and as editor of Child Development Institute's website, which reaches 3 million parents each year. Dr. Myers earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

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  1. Dr. Bob Myers (Edit) Report

    College students with ADHD are often entitled to special services while in college. The AD/HD Resources center has some excellent information on this topic Some kids with ADHD and/or learning disabilities start to shine in college as their brain continues to mature and compensate. In the past these kids were sometimes referred to as “late bloomers “. My own son struggled from time to time in elementary and high school but was an honor student at the community college and later at the university.

  2. Desperate Parents of Potomac, MD (Edit) Report

    Hello Dr. Myers,

    In June my 18yrs. old child is graduating from high school. Do you know of any college scholarship for children with ADHD?
    Also do you have any tips or suggestion that will help progress while attending college?


  3. JimB. (Edit) Report

    After having a son with ADHD, it’s easy to believe that he has a real “brain difference” with his peers. Thanks, Dr. Bob, for confirming my suspicions.



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