Sep 8, 2009 5:28 PM by Bea Karnes

Dopamine seen as root of ADHD

Researchers using brain scans believe they've found the root of ADHD.

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is one of the most prevalent mental disorders in children and teens - but it can also persist long past adolescence. It can impair a person's ability to pay attention, complete tasks and be productive.

Research indicates that the classic symptoms of impulsivity and inattention could be caused by a disruption in the transmission of dopamine - a chemical in the brain that helps cells to communicate. The study compared what's called the dopamine reward pathway in the brains of 53 adults who had ADHD with 44 adults who did not, using images taken at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. "There was a lower concentration of dopamine markers in the brain of individuals with ADHD, specifically in the areas of the brain that are involved with reward and motivation," said Dr. Nora Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The study is published in this week's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).



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