Bio-social aspects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Neurophysiology, maturity, motor function and how symptoms relate to family interaction

University dissertation from Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis has been to study biological and social factors of importance for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Thirty children (age 6-11) with ADHD were examined with parent ratings, neurological examination, cognitive testing, cerebral blood-flow, and EEG. These children together with 14 other children the same age with ADHD, were video-taped during family-tasks before and after three months of treatment with amphetamine. Parents answered questionnaires concerning family functioning and parental well-being. Two-hundred and fifty-one children (age 6-9) were examined with skeletal bone-age, motor examination by the physical education teacher, and parent and teacher questionnaires concerning ADHD-symptoms. Thirty-five children were video-taped during neurological examination. Twenty children were examined on two occasions with four weeks between the examinations. Eighty-nine children age 5½, and 23 children age 7-9 underwent neurological examination and parents were interviewed concerning their child’s motor development. The results from the examination of cerebral blood-flow suggest that there may be at least two functional disturbances in children with ADHD, one involving the frontal lobes, especially on the right side, related to behavioural deviance, and another disturbance of the integration of the temporal lobes, the cerebellum and subcortical structures related to motor planning and aspects of cognition. The study of family function gives support to the notion that some aspects of family dysfunction may be related to the child’s ADHD behaviour. Variables related to general biological maturity did not correlate with ADHD-symptoms. The neurological “soft-signs” examination studied, was found to have good reliability and validity as a measure of motor function and can be recommended for clinical practice and research.