New Study Reveals That Levels of a Brain Neurotransmitter May Be Key in ADHD
Levels of the inhibitor GABA may be low.
Posted Jul 08, 2012
The researchers used a relatively innovative and novel technique in which GABA is measured using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), reports Dr. Stewart Mostofsky, the study’s senior author and Director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive and Imaging Research at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Similar to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), MRS uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce images of the brain. The researchers employed it to measure the GABA concentration in a 3 cm by 3 cm section of the primary sensory motor cortex part of the brain that controls the hand. The test revealed that GABA concentrations were significantly lower in the ADHD children, compared with typically developing children.
Mostofsky stressed that this is a preliminary study with a small number of subjects. Replication in a larger sample size will be important. But, if replicated, the finding could open doors for innovative treatment approaches targeting GABA transmission. “There are limitations to stimulant therapies currently in use. It’s important that we consider alternative therapies, and this research will provide a foundation for pursuing novel approaches to diagnosing and treating ADHD,” he says.
For more information:
Richard A. E. Edden, PhD; Deana Crocetti, PhD; He Zhu, PhD; Donald L. Gilbert, MD; Stewart H. Mostofsky, MD. “Reduced GABA Concentration in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” Arch Gen Psychiatry, July, 2012;69(7):750-753.