Brain Imaging Research Reveals ADHD as a Collection of Different Disorders

IOL researchers have found that patients with different types of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have impairments in unique brain systems, indicating that there may not be a one-size-fits-all explanation for the cause of the disorder. The study has the potential to radically reframe how researchers think about ADHD.

The study was published in an article for Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging by Michael C. Stevens, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Vince D. Calhoun and Katie L. Bessette.

  • It might be possible to advance our understanding of causes and treatments more rapidly.

    - Michael Stevens, PhD

“This study found evidence that clearly supports the idea that ADHD-diagnosed adolescents are not all the same neurobiologically,” said first author Michael Stevens, PhD, director of child and adolescent research at the Institute of Living. “Ultimately, by being open to the idea that psychiatric disorders like ADHD might be caused by more than one factor, it might be possible to advance our understanding of causes and treatments more rapidly.” Dr. Stevens led the research through his role as director of the clinical neuroscience and development laboratory at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center.

“Olin Center researchers have contributed hundreds of leading articles to journals around the world,” said Dr. Hank Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief at the Institute of Living. “People like Dr. Stevens have lectured in visiting professorships nationally and internationally and made key contributions to our understanding of psychotic illnesses, affective and substance use disorders and other conditions using brain imaging and genetic analytic techniques.”