Children with ADHD have less activity in parietal brain areas while performing attention-demanding problem-solving tasks. Credit: UQ
A team of researchers working with UQ's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) has discovered more compelling evidence that attention-deficit disorder in young boys is substantially attributable to brain development.
UQ neuroscientist, Dr Ross Cunnington said there appeared to be a biological difference in young boys that made them more susceptible to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type (ADHD-CT).
"ADHD affects about three-to-five per cent of primary school aged children," Dr Cunnington said.
"It is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in children and causes significant delay in educational and social development."
In a study of boys aged eight-to-twelve, Dr Cunnington and a team of scientists from The University of Queensland and research centres in Victoria used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map the brain activity of each of the boys as they performed a mental rotation task.
The study focused on imaging the parietal lobe, a region of the brain known to become active when something distracts a person from performing or completing a given task.
"We're looking at the interaction that occurs in the brain between the pre-frontal and parietal lobes," Dr Cunnington said.
"Interactions between these brain areas are crucial for maintaining and focusing attention.
"ADHD can be a problem for young boys because it means they don't do well at school, and there are often serious social consequences as well.
"Severe ADHD could at times lead to a young person becoming alienated from their friends and classmates