A new study on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has suggested that the condition manifests itself differently in the brains of girls than in the brains of boys.
Approximately 120 children between the ages of 8 and 12 had an MRI called diffusion tensor imaging to show neurological differences in the brain and evidence ADHD cases. The group of ADHD counted with 30 boys and 30 girls that helped scientist understand how the condition affects in unique ways according to gender.
“The findings showed differences in the white matter microstructure between boys and girls,” said study co-author Lisa Jacobson, a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, in Baltimore.
White matter helps different regions of the brain communicate with each other and have been associated with observed behavioral differences. ADHD is diagnosed in boys at about twice the rate as in girls.
“Females are more likely to present with the inattentive symptoms of ADHD while males are more likely to present with hyperactive and impulsive features of ADHD,” Kathryn Moore, a psychologist at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica said to Philly.
Nevertheless, the study does not show the reasons for their findings being the most striking discovery in this study that there are differences in brain functioning between boys and girls with ADHD, according to Moore. It remains unclear whether the disorder of ADHD is caused by these neurological differences, or perhaps ADHD causes these neurological differences.
In boys with ADHD, the differences showed up in the primary motor cortex, a part of the brain responsible for controlling basic motor functions. In girls with ADHD, the differences appeared in the prefrontal regions of the brain, which control motivation and ability to regulate emotions, the study authors said.