Attention Deficit Disorder is considered to be a Neurobiological or Neurochemical Disorder, as evidenced by the following:
o PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography)
o Computerized EEG Brain Waves
o SPECT studies, 3D pictures of the cortex and deeper structures of the brain that show blood flow and indicate brain metabolism
o fMRI Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Results of the studies show decreased brain activity (less metabolic activity) in the frontal lobes in response to intellectual activity.
Observation: Some individuals with ADHD seek to stimulate their brains by movement because it helps them concentrate.
Challenges for individuals according to type:
Paying close attention to details
Sustaining attention in work tasks
Easily distracted by noise, events, etc.
Difficulty listening when spoken to directly
Daydream a lot
Blurt out comments and interrupt
Decide or purchase impulsively
Tendency toward addictions
Fidgety and squirmy
Feel restless inside
Driven, on the go, all the time
MedLinePlus Health Information This page links to many medically-based descriptions of attention deficit disorder and research summaries.
Research from Kathy
Nunley's online newsletter:
(Dec. '05) A recent article by leading Harvard Medical School experts summarizes the most up-to-date research and understanding of ADHD (attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder):
The disorder affects about 10% of all children worldwide. About one-half of the children with ADHD will continue to have some type of impairment from it through adulthood. Genetic studies have shown it to be highly heritable and while heredity seems to be the leading cause, some pre-natal and even early childhood events can also be linked to ADHD.
From a molecular standpoint, research points to catecholaminergic circuits and impaired transmission of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Research in treatments has shown both non-stimulant and long-acting traditional treatments such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) to be safe and effective, especially when coupled with behavioral interventions and treatment. Biederman, J. & Faraone, S. (2005). Lancet. Vol 366 (9481) 237-248.
(Aug. '03) Research
usually shows there is no gender difference in ADHD, although females are often
ignored and undiagnosed, however "here is more research on the genetic
side of ADHD as well as an interesting gender preference for inheriting the
Trinity College, Ireland, has found 3 genetic ties to ADHD, all having to do with dopamine levels. Dopamine receptors, the dopamine transporter genes and genes responsible for synthesis of dopamine are all linked to the disorder. The study also found that the ADHD responsible genes tend to come from the father's genetic make-up more so than the mother's genes. Kirley, A. et al. (2002). Neuropsychopharmacology, vol 27(4), 607-619."
To subscribe to
Kathy Nunley's newsletter for educators, please visit the following:
Zadina's Brain Research and Instruction website; newsletter available.
Dr. Amen's BrainPlace and Brain Spect Atlas website
For students: How to get support at college?
National Institute of Mental Health
Tips for teachers who work with students with ADHD.
Print Resources on ADD/ADHD:
Amen, Daniel G., M.D. Windows into the A.D.D. Mind. Fairfield: Mindworks, 1997.
Hallowell, Edward M., M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D. Driven to Distraction. New York: Pantheon, 1994.
Hartmann, Thom. Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception - The "Hunter in a Farmer's World" Book. Novato: Underwood-Miller, 1993.
Rief, Sandra. The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders (2003) and The ADD/ADHD Checklist. Paramus: Prentice Hall, 1997. (My favorite book on ADHD.)
Rotz, Roland. Presentation slides from a workshop on ADD/ADHD. March 2000. Information was provided by Mary Lawson, LD Specialist in DSPS at SBCC. This is now available in his new book, Fidget to Focus.
Wender, Paul H., M.D. The Hyperactive Child, Adolescent, and Adult. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
CHADD - Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
ADDA, Attention Deficit Disorder Association
LDOnline ADHD Basics
Dr. Robert Brooks offers articles on Resilience, Self-Esteem, Motivation, and Family Relationships, many of which are very relevant to adults with ADHD. You may sign up to receive his articles through email.