MRI could provide early ADHD diagnosis
Researchers from the Department of Radiology at West China Hospital of Sichuan University say that resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rfMRI) could be useful in providing early and accurate diagnosis of ADHD.
In the past, ADHD studies have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to analyze brain activity. But the scientists in this study say that by using fMRI, researchers have been unable to determine the “specific brain physiology” behind ADHD. So, instead of using fMRI, which monitors brain activity while a person is focusing on a task, they used rfMRI, which looks at brain activity when a person is not focusing on something.
For their study the researchers used rfMRI on 33 boys with ADHD from ages six to 16 years old and compared the results with those of 32 similarly aged boys without the disorder. All participants were required to undergo executive function tests, which measure a person’s control of cognitive processes including planning, working memory, problem solving and reasoning. Individuals with ADHD tend to have impaired executive function. The results of rfMRIs were then correlated with results of the executive function tests.
The team found that the boys with ADHD had an altered structure and function in certain areas of the brain, such as the orbitofrontal cortex -- an area involved in strategic planning. Similar alterations were also found in the globus pallidus, an area that plays a part in executive inhibitory control and manages the ability to control inappropriate behaviors or responses.
The researchers concluded that rfMRI may be a useful tool to further investigate the link between brain activity and executive function.