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Additional info for Child's Mind (Scientific American Special Online Issue No. 27)

Sample text

Nongenetic factors that have been linked to ADHD include premature birth, maternal alcohol and tobacco MAR CH 20 0 6 Diagnosing ADHD sychiatrists diagnose attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) if the individual displays six or more of the following symptoms of inattention or six or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. The signs must occur often and be present for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with the person’s developmental level. In addition, some of the symptoms must have caused impairment be- • • • • • • • • • INATTENTION Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities Avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork) Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (such as toys, school assignments, pencils, books or tools) Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli Is forgetful in daily activities use, exposure to high levels of lead in early childhood and brain injuries—especially those that involve the prefrontal cortex.

When the waiter remembers the orders successfully, another player takes over that role. L. COPYRIGHT 2006 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC.

In a 1996 study F. Xavier Castellanos, Judith L. Rapoport and their colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health found that the right prefrontal cortex and two basal ganglia called the caudate nucleus and the globus pallidus are significantly smaller than normal in children with ADHD. Earlier this year Castellanos’s group found that the vermis region of the cerebellum is also smaller in ADHD children. The imaging findings make sense because the brain areas that are reduced in size in children with ADHD are the very ones that regulate attention.

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Child's Mind (Scientific American Special Online Issue No. 27) by Scientific American


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