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Links to our ADD & ADHD Support Group & Information

ADD & ADHD Index Introduction To ADD & ADHD Treatments Recent Research Findings
Attention Disorders Understanding the Problem Sustaining Hope Getting Help
ADD ADHD outgrown or cured? What causes ADHD & ADD Symptoms of ADD & ADHD Treatments for ADD & ADHD
Educational options for ADD & ADHD? Can other disorders accompany ADHD? ADD & ADHD identified and diagnosed? Can any other conditions produce these symptoms?
  What hope does research offer?  

Recent Research Findings

Magnetic resonance imaging research has shown that the brains of children with ADHD differ from those of children without the disorder. In addition, there appears to be a link between a person's ability to pay continued attention and the use of glucose-the body's major fuel-in the brain. In people with ADHD, the brain areas that control attention use less glucose and appear to be less active, suggesting that a lower level of activity in some parts of the brain may cause inattention.

Research shows that ADHD tends to run in families, so there are likely to be genetic influences. Children who have ADHD usually have at least one close relative who also has ADHD. And at least one-third of all fathers who had ADHD in their youth have children with ADHD. Even more convincing of a possible genetic link is that when one twin of an identical twin pair has the disorder, the other is likely to have it too.

Data from 1995 show that physicians treating children and adolescents wrote six million prescriptions for stimulants-methylphenidate (Ritalin®, dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®), and pemoline (Cylert®). Of all the drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders in children, stimulant medications are the most well-studied. A 1998 Consensus Development Conference on ADHD sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and a recent, comprehensive scientific report confirmed many earlier studies showing that short-term use of stimulants is safe and effective for children with ADHD. Evidence is mounting that suggests stimulants are more effective than behavioral therapies in controlling the core symptoms of ADHD-inattention, hyperactivity/impulsiveness, and aggression. But the addition of behavioral treatments seems to result in improved functioning, in terms of better social skills and higher academic achievement. More studies are needed to assess the combination of medication and behavioral therapies and to examine the long-term use of stimulant medication.

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