Research Articles on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Douglas Cowan Psy.D. MFT's picture
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ADHD Research: A Collection of Research Articles

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We have listed dozens of research articles on the physiological differences between of Attention Deficit Disorder individuals and those without ADD ADHD that are available for you to read on the internet.

These studies include research on:

  • functional differences in the ADHD brain;
  • structural differences in the attention deficit disorder brain;
  • performance differences on psychological tests measuring Executive Functions;
  • Essential Fatty Acid deficiencies in those with ADHD;
  • Genetic factors, and much more.
  • Medical Treatment Issues in ADHD

Functional Differences in the ADHD Brain

The Functional Differences include studies with EEGs, Q-EEGs, CPTs, psychological testing, and “functional” MRIs (fMRI).

They show differences in activation levels of various areas of the brain, differences in brainwave patterns, and differences in glucose metabolism (as measure of brain work load).

They also show the ADD ADHD groups to have these differences as compared to the controls:

  • poorer performance on timed tasks,
  • slower reaction time,
  • slower processing times,
  • lower problem solving abilities,
  • less fine motor control,
  • less gross motor control,
  • differences in evoked potentials, and
  • problems with inhibition

Structural Differences in the ADHD Brain

adhd research on functional differencesThe Structural Differences include studies with MRIs, PET scans, and SPECT scans.

They show subtle structural differences in these regions of the ADHD brain:

  • prefrontal cortex - especially the smaller right anterior frontal cortex, and also less white matter in the right frontal lobes which cause problems with sustained or focused attention,
  • caudate nucleus - asymmetries which cause problems with self-control,
  • globus pallidus
  • right hemisphere - the studies show that the right hemisphere of the ADD ADHD brain is, on average, 5% smaller than the control groups.

They also show differences in blood flow in certain parts of the brain, as well as chemical abnormalities in Attention Deficit Disorder subjects.

Essential Fatty Acids and ADHD

The studies on Essential Fatty Acid levels in Attention Deficit Disorder subjects vs. non- ADD ADHD subjects are interesting.

The ADD ADHD groups had significantly lower concentrations of key essential fatty acids than did the control groups, and about 40% of the ADD ADHD group showed these signs of EFA deficiency:

  • increased thirst,
  • frequent urination,
  • dry skin,
  • dry or brittle hair.

Low levels of Omega 6 EFAs contributed to higher incidents of illness (colds, flu, etc.), and deficits in Omega 3 EFAs contributed to problems with learning, behavior, sleep, and temper.

These studies support the case for EFA supplementation as a part of the overall treatment approach to Attention Deficit Disorder - ADHD.

See the discussion on EFAs and Nutraceutical treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder – ADD ADHD.

Genetic Studies and ADHD

Genetic Studies on Attention Deficit Disorder – ADHD show gene alterations that may contribute to ADD ADHD in some children. They are especially looking at the DRD4 dopamine receptor gene.

Familial Genetic Studies show that ADHD runs in families.

For example, a child with an older sibling with ADD ADHD is 300% to 500% more likely to himself have Attention Deficit Disorder than is a child without ADD ADHD siblings.

Twin studies and Adoption studies are also included.

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Medical Treatment Issues in ADHD

Research on various ADHD treatment considerations, innovations, and interventions are widely available.

Here we have just a small sampling of the research available, just in case you need more convincing on the reality of ADHD.

Other studies on Treatment, Behavior, and Diagnostic Issues are also included.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., M.S. is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Tehachapi, CA who has been a skillful counselor to children, teens, and adults helping them to overcome ADHD, find relief for depression or anxiety, and solve other problems in life since 1989. He served on the medical advisory board to the company that makes Attend and Extress from 1997 through 2011, and he is the Editor of the ADHD Information Library online resource. His weekly ADHD Newsletter goes out to 9,500 families. Visit his website at for more information on achieving greater health, personal growth, Christ-centered spirituality, stress management, parenting skills, ADHD, working out the stresses of being a care-giver to elderly parents and also being a parent to teenagers, or finding greater meaning in retirement years, Dr. Cowan can be a valuable resource to you.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT
27400 Oakflat Dr.
Tehachapi, CA 93561
(661) 972-5953

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