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Science News About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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New Data Reveal Extent of Genetic Overlap Between Major Mental Disorders

Press Release

SNP-based Coheritibilities

The largest genome-wide study of its kind has determined how much five major mental illnesses are traceable to the same common inherited genetic variations.

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Five Major Mental Disorders Share Genetic Roots

Science Update

Dr. Bruce Cuthbert, Ph.D.

Five major mental disorders share some of the same genetic risk factors, the largest genome-wide study of its kind has found.

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Long-term Course of ADHD Diagnosed in Preschool Years Can be Chronic and Severe

Science Update

preschool-aged boy

Long-term Course of ADHD Diagnosed in Preschool Years Can be Chronic and Severe

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Prescribed stimulant use for ADHD continues to rise steadily

Press Release

young boy writing in booklet

The prescribed use of stimulant medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rose slowly but steadily from 1996 to 2008, according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

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Continued Use of Stimulants for ADHD Likely Does Not Increase Risk for Hypertension, but May Affect Heart Rate

Science Update

High School Students Talking Outside

Chronic use of stimulant medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children does not appear to increase risk for high blood pressure over the long term, but it may have modest effects on heart rate, according to follow-up data from the NIMH-funded Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA).

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Attention woes in kids with Tourette syndrome likely caused by co-occurring ADHD

Science Update

child writing at desk, view of hands only

Co-occurring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be at the root of attention problems in children with Tourette syndrome (TS), according to NIMH-funded researchers. Their findings also support the theory that children with TS develop different patterns of brain activity in order to function at the same level as children without TS. The study was published in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Most Children with Rapidly Shifting Moods Don’t Have Bipolar Disorder

Science Update

child running in an open field

Relatively few children with rapidly shifting moods and high energy have bipolar disorder, though such symptoms are commonly associated with the disorder. Instead, most of these children have other types of mental disorders, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry on October 5, 2010.

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ECG Screening for Heart Conditions in ADHD Children is Borderline Cost Effective

Science Update

child throwing paper airplane at teacher’s back

Obtaining an electrocardiogram (ECG) to screen for heart conditions in children prior to prescribing stimulant medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may save some lives but it is borderline cost-effective, according to an NIH study published online ahead of print March 8, 2010, in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Questions Raised About Stimulants and Sudden Death

Science Update

A study examining stimulant use among children and adolescents found an association between stimulants and sudden unexplained death in youth with no evidence of pre-existing heart disease. The finding draws attention to the potential risks of stimulant medication, according to the study’s authors; an accompanying editorial notes that the rarity of sudden unexplained death and the lack of long-term data on the effectiveness of these medications for reducing other health risks make a full benefit/risk assessment difficult.

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ADHD Medication Treatment Associated with Higher Academic Performance in Elementary School

Science Update

Doctor with young boy

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who take medication to treat the condition tend to do better in math and reading compared to their peers who also have ADHD but do not take medication, according to data from a national survey. The NIMH-funded study was published in the May 2009 issue of Pediatrics.

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Short-term Intensive Treatment Not Likely to Improve Long-term Outcomes for Children with ADHD

Science Update

Short-term Intensive Treatment Not Likely to Improve Long-term Outcomes for Children with ADHD

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Long-term Academic Effects of Child’s ADHD May Extend to Siblings

Science Update

The long-term academic problems that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often experience may affect their siblings as well, according to an analysis partially funded by NIMH and published in the Journal of Health Economics.

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Age-related Decline of ADHD Symptoms Disrupted by Middle School

Science Update

Although symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) can last into adulthood, typically they decline as a child gets older.

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New NIMH Research to Test Innovative Treatments for Children with ADHD

Science Update

Two new grants funded by NIMH will focus on novel and innovative approaches to treating children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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NIMH Funds Research to Find Best Treatments for Children with Autism and ADHD Symptoms

Science Update

A new NIMH-funded study will help guide the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

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Journal Highlights Effectiveness of Research Based Psychotherapies for Youth

Science Update

Reviews of the current research on psychosocial and behavioral therapies, or psychotherapies, for children and adolescents found a number of well established and probably efficacious treatments for many mental disorders. For example, six were probably efficacious for anxiety disorders, and two were well established for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to scientists funded by NIMH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, divisions of the National Institutes of Health.

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Brain Matures a Few Years Late in ADHD, But Follows Normal Pattern

Press Release

In youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed three years in some regions, on average, compared to youth without the disorder.

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Preschoolers with Three or More Coexisting Disorders Show No Response to ADHD Medication Treatment

Press Release

Preschoolers who are diagnosed with ADHD are not likely to respond to treatment with the stimulant methylphenidate, regardless of dosage, if they also have three or more coexisting disorders, according to a recent analysis of data from the Preschoolers with ADHD Treatment Study (PATS).

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Behavioral Interventions Effective for Preschoolers with ADHD

Science Update

Two types of early interventions designed to reduce symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in preschoolers may be effective alternatives or additions to medication treatment, according to a recent NIMH-funded study.

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Gene Predicts Better Outcome as Cortex Normalizes in Teens with ADHD

Science Update

Brain areas that control attention were thinnest in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who carried a particular version of a gene in a study by the National Institutes of Healths (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Improvement Following ADHD Treatment Sustained in Most Children

Press Release

Most children treated in a variety of ways for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) showed sustained improvement after three years in a major follow-up study funded by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Global Use of ADHD Medications Rises Dramatically

Science Update

Global use of medications that treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) nearly tripled from 1993 to 2003, and spending on the drugs rose nine-fold, according to a study co-funded by NIMH and published in the March/April 2007 issue of Health Affairs.

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Preschoolers with ADHD Improve with Low Doses of Medication

Press Release

The first long-term, large-scale study designed to determine the safety and effectiveness of treating preschoolers who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with methylphenidate (Ritalin) has found that overall, low doses of this medication are effective and safe.

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Brain Changes Mirror Symptoms in ADHD

Science Update

The severity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in youth appears to be reflected in their brain structure, recent NIMH-supported brain imaging studies are finding.

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ADHD Medication Use Held Steady in Recent Years

Science Update

The results of a study conducted by researchers at the Agency of Healthcare Research Quality and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health indicate that the prevalence of stimulant use among U.S. children for treating symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) remained relatively constant between 1997 and 2002.

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Harvard Study Suggests Significant Prevalence of ADHD Symptoms Among Adults

Science Update

A recent NIMH-funded survey tracking the prevalence of attention deficit/hyperactivity symptoms found that an estimated 4.4 percent of adults ages 18-44 in the United States experience symptoms and some disability.

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Gene Enhances Prefrontal Function at a Price

Press Release

Studies of a gene that affects how efficiently the brain’s frontal lobes process information are revealing some untidy consequences of a tiny variation in its molecular structure and how it may increase susceptibility to schizophrenia.

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Brain Shrinkage in ADHD Not Caused by Medications

Press Release

A 10-year study by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) scientists has found that brains of children and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are 3-4 percent smaller than those of children who don't have the disorder—and that medication treatment is not the cause.

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Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders: Are Children Being Overmedicated?

Press Release

NOTE TO WRITERS AND EDITORS: Dr. Richard Nakamura, Acting Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, testified this morning before the Committee on Government Reform, United States House of Representatives.

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