Using Mri Based Neuroimaging Psy 634 Southern New

Using Mri Based Neuroimaging Psy 634 Southern New

Using Mri Based Neuroimaging Psy 634 Southern New

TOPIC: Prevalence rates for ADHD in children and adolescents have increased exponentially in the recent two decades. In parallel, prescriptions for stimulant medications have become commonplace. What are some possible reasons for the increase in diagnosis? What might some of the negative effects of the increased use of stimulants be, including on both the individual and societal levels? Be sure to address effects of stimulants on the brain. When responding to your peers, think about how stimulants may or may not have affected students in your classes while you were growing up.



Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder has become one of the most commonly diagnosed neurobehavioral disorders. Researchers have found that ADHD is often concurrent with other disorders such as disruptive, mood, anxiety, and substance abuse. Due to the specific and sensitive nature of diagnosing ADHD via criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, researchers much identify child and adolescents rather than adults. The increase in evaluation for learning disorders and other for other cognitive deficits in early childhood and especially school-age adolescence has also enabled psychologists to consider the prevalence of ADHD traits alongside other neurological disorders. However, regular re-evaluations are necessary in order to determine if the diagnosed individuals maintain the required criteria to qualify as a person with ADHD (Wilens and Spencer, 2010).

Medication can reduce the common symptoms of ADHD in children and adults. However, while there are positive outcomes to using stimulant medications for ADHD, there are also negatives. Medications that treat the symptoms of ADHD work by increasing levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with motivation and attention, within the brain. These stimulant medications cause concerns to be used for children because the effects on the development of the adolescent brain are still under-researched and widely unknown (Robinson, Smith, Segal, and Ramsey, 2019).

Researchers have closely been gathering data with new brain imaging techniques to watch the development of the brain for children with ADHD. MRI technology has revealed a smaller anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for individuals with ADHD (Wilens and Spencer, 2010). New and upcoming research and understanding of ADHD may help to limit the number of mis-diagnosis throughout adolescent individuals and increase the effectiveness of future medications of interventions in order to treat the symptoms of the disorder.


Robinson, L., Smith, M., Segal, J., and Ramsey, D. (2019). ADHD Medications. HelpGuide.,reducing%20hyperactive%20and%20impulsive%20behaviors.

Wilens, T. E. and Spencer, T. J. (2010). Understanding Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder From Childhood to Adulthood. Postgraduate Medicine, 122(5), 97-109.


A research article by Davidovitch, Koren, Fund, Shrem, & Porath (2017) sought to answer the big questions around where there has been such an increase in ADHD diagnosis and treatment over the past decade. The author’s research found an ADHD diagnosis increase from 6.8% to 14.4% between 2005 and 2014 with an increase of medication used increasing by 4.94%. What I found most interesting about the author’s research was the conclusion that this increase was due to the increase in physicians’ and parents’ changed attitudes towards a diagnosis, with more parents appearing to show positive behavior towards an ADHD diagnosis. I believe that lessened stigmatization towards an ADHD diagnosis as well as towards utilizing medication is largely tied to the increase in diagnosis and use of medication.

Although the lessened stigmatization around ADHD, and increase in diagnosis is generally positive, it is important to understand the negative effects of stimulants. A study by Spencer, et al. (2013) evaluated the impact of therapeutic oral doses of stimulants on the brains of ADHD subjects by using MRI based neuroimaging studies (morphometric, functional, and spectroscopy). The author’s concluded that therapeutic oral doses of stimulants decrease alterations in brain structure and function in subjects with ADHD relative to unmedicated subjects and controls. Other negative effects of stimulant use for ADHD include impulsiveness, emotional dysregulation, and increase risky behaviors. These effects can have negative consequences on not only the individual but on society as a whole.


Davidovitch, M., Koren, G., Fund, N., Shrem, M., & Porath, A. (2017). Challenges in defining the rates of ADHD diagnosis and treatment trends over the last decade. BMC pediatrics, 17(1), 2018.

Spencer, T. J., Brown, A., Seidman, L. J., Valera, E. M., Makris, N., Lomedico, A., Faraone, S. V., & Diederman, J. (2013). Effect of psychostimulants on brain structure and function in ADHD: a qualitative literature review of magnetic resonance imaging-based neuroimaging studies. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 74(9), 902-917.