Study finds no link between ADHD diagnosis and ADHD symptoms
A study has found no link, at least in the UK, between ADHD and a diagnosis of ADHD.
Key points:The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Bristol and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.(ABC News)The study found no connection between ADHD symptoms and a DSM-5 diagnosis of ADD.(ABC New Zealand)The researchers from Bristol University, led by Prof Simon Cox, found no correlation between ADHD diagnoses and the number of ADHD symptoms.
“It was interesting to see that there wasn’t a link between the number and type of ADHD and the prevalence of ADHD, so the relationship was there but it wasn’t statistically significant,” Dr Cox told the BBC.
“So the question is what is it that is going on in the brain?”
He said there were other possible explanations for this, including the way ADHD was diagnosed, which could be related to a lack of empathy or social sensitivity.
“There may be other factors that are contributing to the way in which the brain processes information, and there may be certain kinds of information that may be more problematic,” he said.
“And it may be that in some way those are the things that are causing the differences between those types of individuals and those who have more typical, more typical-sounding symptoms.”
The study, which involved a total of 2,066 people, involved people who were diagnosed with ADHD in the early stages of their childhood.
“The data was collected from people who came to us for a diagnosis,” Dr Nick McDonough, who co-led the study, said.
“The research team did a very large number of interviews with a lot of people who had ADHD, and then they looked at their brain imaging and they found no evidence of a link.”
We also found no correlations between ADHD symptomatology and any other diagnosis.
“Dr McDonogh said while this study found there was no evidence linking ADHD symptoms to ADHD, the researchers were not ruling out that there may in fact be a link to the diagnostic criteria.”
But what we don’t know is the underlying biology behind the differences in those people,” he told ABC Radio.”
I think that’s something that’s been a little bit neglected by many researchers, that we don’st know exactly what those underlying biological mechanisms are.
“The researchers said it was important to consider the effect of medication, social anxiety, stress and other factors on ADHD symptoms, which can also impact the brain’s functioning.”
When we talk about the impact of medications and stress, and what those things can do, it may well be that they’re impacting some of the pathways in the way the brain responds to information,” Dr McDonigh said.