Scientists have discovered that for boys between eight and thirteen years of age ADHD may be due to a deformity in their basal ganglia. Large deformation diffeomorphic mapping (LDDMM), is the new technology that enables doctors to map the human brain. Girls with ADHD had no significant brain differences from girls without ADHD.
Research About Brain Shapes and ADHD
The Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md. and the Johns Hopkins Center for Imaging Science have been researching ADHD with the LDDMM in hopes of determining the causes of ADHD and finding an effective treatment. Discovering the basal ganglia differences is leading researchers to consider that ADHD may be a “circuitry” problem that is more complex than first thought. Rather than just one neural circuit being affected, it could be several parallel circuits which fail to function normally. These circuits control impulse and behavior, resulting in ADHD.
“This study represents a major advancement in our ability to examine the neuroanatomic features of ADHD and other developmental disorders. Using LDDMM, we can more accurately measure the impact of ADHD on brain development, which will not only bring us closer to unlocking the biological basis of the disorder, but help us better diagnose and treat patients.” - Dr. Stewart H. Mostofsky, senior study author and a pediatric neurologist in the Department of Developmental Cognitive Neurology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
How is This Significant?
Discovering the root cause of behavioral problems like ADHD will be a big step towards eliminating it. Many children are afflicted by ADHD and unable to function well in school and in society. The inability to concentrate and focus can have lasting effects on the ADHD victim. With the aid of LDDMM the brain is being mapped and problem areas isolated, making potential treatments and cures more likely for future ADHD sufferers.
The Technology Behind LDDMM
Large Deformation Diffeomorphic Metric Mapping (LDDMM) is being used to study brain deformities in children with ADHD. Its purpose is to measure the metric distances of the space between anatomical images in Computational Anatomy to permit the exact comparison of morphometric differences between “normal” and “abnormal” features in the brain. The size and shape of basal ganglia of the brains of boys with ADHD is different from those without ADHD. The LDDMM is also being used for human cortex mapping, and hippocampus mapping studies for neuropsychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.
Mapping the human brain has long been one of the goals of research scientists, and the LDDMM is making it possible. ADHD is not the only brain problem that this new research can identify, however. There are several neurological disorders that can benefit from these studies. New treatments and cures may soon be available for MS, Muscular Dystrophy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease as the use of LDDMM continues and the mysteries of the brain are revealed.