Dr Volkow Leads 8-year Study – New ADHD Research Findings
Posted Oct 04 2009 11:14pm
by Lisa Frederiksen
As you’ve likely read in a prior post of mine or elsewhere, mental illness is one of the key risk factors for a person developing a problem with alcohol abuse and/or alcoholism.
In her September 10, 2009, article, “ Common Mental Illnesses May Be More Common Than You Think,” Melissa Healy wrote for the Los Angeles Times, “[a]nxiety, depression and alcohol and drug dependency cases might more than twice as high as researchers have come to believe, a study published today in the journal Psychological Science finds, with 41% of young adults experiencing major depression, half suffering an axiety disorder and nearly one in three exhibiting alcohol dependence by the age of 32.”
ADHD is another common mental illness — especially among children, with 4.5 million diagnosed in the U.S. — and an article by Katherine Ellison in today’s The Washington Post, titled, “ Brain Scans Link ADHD to Biological Flaw Tied to Motivation,” reports the results of a study led by Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health, “together with scientists affiliated with institutions including the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Mount Sinai Medical Center.” The study took eight years to complete, and according to this article,
Volkow’s team collected detailed images of participants’ brains with positron emission tomography, or PET, scans after injecting them with a radioactive chemical that binds to dopamine receptors and transporters, which take up and recycle dopamine as it moves between neurons. The imaging showed that, in people with ADHD, the receptors and transporters are significantly less abundant in mid-brain structures composing the so-called reward pathway, which is involved in associating stimuli with pleasurable expectations.
“Stephen Hinshaw, chair of the psychology department at the University of California at Berkeley, praised the study as being “above and beyond the normal rank and file” of incremental progress in the quest to solidify the dynamics of ADHD. “It’s a big deal to get this kind of nonmedicated sample,” he added.Read more…