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New Study: Kids with ADHD have Different Brain Development

Posted by Dr. Robert Myers, PhD

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.


About Dr. Robert Myers, PhD

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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