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ADHD in the News – Dopamine May Not Be to Blame

December 11, 2013

ADHD BrainJust when I got to the point that I felt pretty confident explaining the difference between dopamine and dopamine receptors and how the different ADHD meds affect those two things in order to help alleviate symptoms, new research shows that low dopamine levels may not be the root cause of ADHD as previously hypothesized. Researchers at Cambridge University in England claim that dopamine dysfunction is not the root cause of ADHD.  This claim is based on the results of a study published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology.  In the study, the effects of ritalin on attention and focus were studied across a group of participants that included people with ADHD and people without the disorder.  Attention in all participants who received doses of Ritalin (as opposed to a placebo) improved regardless of ADHD diagnosis indicating that Ritalin increased dopamine in all participants and that the effects of increased dopamine were consistent.  However, the study did show that those with ADHD seem to have structural differences within the grey matter of the brain that are not seen in the non-ADHD participants. These findings open the door for a more in depth understanding of ADHD and the potential for better treatment options in the future. For more information, check out these articles:

Dopamine May Not Be Behind Attention Disorder 
Imaging Study Shows Dopamine Dysfunction is Not the Cause of Attention Deficit Disorder 
Implications for ADHD and It’s Treatment, Brain: A Journal of Neurology

You can also access the published findings here.

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