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J Child Neurol. 1993 Oct;8(4):339-47.

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and asymmetry of the caudate nucleus.

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  • 1Department of Special Education, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


The neurologic basis of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is poorly understood. Based on previous studies that have implicated metabolic deficiencies in the caudate-striatal region in ADHD, we employed magnetic resonance imaging to investigate patterns of morphology of the head of the caudate nucleus in normal and ADHD children. In normal children, 72.7% evidenced a left-larger-than-right (L > R) pattern of asymmetry, whereas 63.6% of the ADHD children had the reverse (L < R) pattern of asymmetry of the head of the caudate nucleus. This reversal of normal asymmetry in ADHD children was due to a significantly smaller left caudate nucleus. The reversal in asymmetry of the head of the caudate was most notable in ADHD males. These results suggest that normal (L > R) morphologic asymmetry in the region of the caudate nucleus may be related to asymmetries observed in neurotransmitter systems implicated in ADHD. The behavioral symptoms of ADHD may reflect disinhibition from normal levels of dominant hemispheric control, possibly correlated with deviations in asymmetric caudate-striatal morphology and deficiencies in associated neurotransmitter systems.

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