ADHD brain science, hot off the press.

As I dive into the community of ADHD, I have been introduced to so many new ways of thinking, processing, and sharing information. I’ve just launched my Twitter page and have chosen to curate my feed into two categories: ADHD and professionalism targeted for women (entrepreneurship, development, and thought leaders). This opened up a huge can of worms, and at face value there appears to be a huge conversation going on. I’m excited to become more involved in this.

Figure 1. Author thinking about all the possibilities to contribute and benefit from the ADHD community.

Figure 1. Author thinking about all the possibilities to contribute and benefit from the ADHD community.

One article in particular caught my eye: Lancet Psychiatry completed a mega-analysis (!) on ADHD brain scans and published the results five days ago. A mega-analysis (in case you’re wondering) is when scientists look at a whole bunch of similarly guided studies to see what the overall patterns are. The exciting bit is that it’s the largest ever review of ADHD brain scans (over 3,200 patients- of which 1,713 diagnosed with ADHD), and it found that some parts of the brain were smaller in ADHD brains versus the control group (no ADHD). The specific parts they identified are called the amygdala and hippocampus- both associated with emotional processing. The study showed that this size difference was most apparent in children. This discovery is important because it means that there is a potential (with more research) to diagnose the disorder from a physiological standpoint. See the summary article HERE.

Figure 2. Smart doctor certain that patient has ADHD because the brain looks like other ADHD brains.

Figure 2. Smart doctor-of-the-future certain that patient has ADHD because the brain scan looks like other ADHD brains.

This is also big news because it helps to validate those with the disorder as something they truly can’t control. ADHD isn’t something that people make up- it’s very real and can have serious impacts on a person’s day to day life if left untreated. ADHD can result in so many negatively perceived behaviours- laziness, lack of discipline, flaky, scattered, unfocused, etc., but if society can understand that it has been proven to be a brain disorder, my hope is that we might be a little more accommodating. I know it helps me feel a little less guilty about forgetting full conversations with the people I love. I mean, it’s not my fault I probably have a smaller than average amygdala guys!* It’s not a free pass to be a terrible person, but it really helps drive home the fact that this is something that needs attention, patience, and care.

*My heart is probably proportionately bigger to make up for it though.

 

 

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