Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

ADHD in Children Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

How Ritalin Affects Brains of Kids With ADHD

Medication activates areas associated with the disorder, scans show

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Barbara Bronson Gray

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 31 (HealthDay News) -- Ritalin activates specific areas of the brain in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mimicking the brain activity of children without the condition, a new review says.

"This suggests that Ritalin does bring the brain [of a child with ADHD] back to the brain the typically developing kid has," said study author Constance Moore, associate director of the translational center for comparative neuroimaging at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Analyzing data from earlier studies that looked at how children's brains were affected by doing certain tasks that are sometimes challenging for kids with ADHD, the researchers found that Ritalin (methylphenidate) was having a visible impact on three areas of the brain known to be associated with ADHD: the cortex, the cerebellum and the basal ganglia.

The study could be helpful in diagnosing and treating children with ADHD, Moore said. "It may be helpful to know that in certain children, Ritalin is having a physiological effect in the areas of the brain involved with attention and impulse control," she said.

The research was published recently in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Nine studies analyzed by the researchers used functional MRI to evaluate brain changes after children had taken a single dose of Ritalin. The children were involved in different types of tasks that tested their ability to focus and inhibit an impulse to act.

For example, to observe the brain's reaction during a test of what is called "inhibitory control," a child was told that every time he saw a zero show up on a screen, he should push the button on the right; every time he saw an X appear, he should push the left button. The children would then be asked to flip their responses, pushing the left button when they saw a zero.

"That's hard to do," Moore said, "because you've developed the habit [of pushing the other button], so you have to suppress your impulse. If you do 20 zeros and keep pressing and then you see an X, most kids with ADHD will hit the wrong button."

Today on WebMD

doctor writing on clipboard
ARTICLE
mother with child
ASSESSMENT
 
disciplining a boy
ARTICLE
daughter with her unhappy parents
ARTICLE
 
preschool age girl sitting at desk
ARTICLE
Child with adhd
SLIDESHOW
 
father helping son with homework
QUIZ
children in sack race
ARTICLE