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Exercise and ADHD

The Effects of Physical Fitness on Brain Structures, Brain Substances and Executive Function on Children with ADHD
by

Christine Gauthier

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of Exercise and ADHD

Brain structures
of children
with ADHD Frontal and prefrontal cortex
(outer layer of the brain)
Delayed development
Less volume / thickness
Prefrontal cortex houses much of executive function Gyrification
(curvature of the cortex)
Delayed development
Trajectories show normalization in adulthood Gray Matter
Smaller overall volume in children with ADHD
Smaller volume of caudate nucleus partly housing control and motivation White Matter
Similar volume
Abnormal development in areas related to EF, hyperactivity and inattention Left frontal middle gyrus
Area partly responsible for EF Smaller volume in children with ADHD Executive function of children with ADHD Chemical levels in the brain of children with ADHD Can be varied through exercise Development can be encouraged with exercise Can be enhanced with exercise by Christine Gauthier Catecholamine Dopamine Norepinephrine Epinephrine BDNF unchanged after exercise Hormones that shift under stress smaller increase after exercise smaller increase after exercise Protein responsible for health of neurons Elevated levels, which are exercise-intesity dependent, enhance cognitive function Consistent exercise regulates BDNF levels thereby possibly alleviating ADHD symptoms Executive function and ADHD EF is responsible for purposeful, goal-directed behavior

EF deficits could be responsible for ADHD symptoms

Exercise could alter the trajectory Brain Structures Chemical Levels in Brain Implications of Exercise in Children with ADHD Exercise could enhance cognitive function and raise test scores

Long term study needed to determine effectiveness

Exercise gives faster information processing and sustained attention Conclusions for Further Research Physical activity positively affects symptoms of ADHD
Integration of exercise into each school day
Exercise promotes structural brain development and mediation of substance levels
Synaptic connections between brain regions
Examine exercise design Atypical brain structures, chemical levels and executive function in children with ADHD ADHD - Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder - a condition of inattention and/or hyperactivity that interfers with numerous facets of development

Executive Function - cognitive
processes that regulate and
control abilities and behaviors

Gray Matter - cell bodies
and dendrites

White Matter - nerve fibers

Prefrontal Cortex - area associated with
executive function

Catecholamine - a group of hormones
including dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) - protein that supports the survival of neurons
Full transcript