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Neurotox Res. 2012 Feb;21(2):195-209. doi: 10.1007/s12640-011-9260-0. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Physical exercise alleviates ADHD symptoms: regional deficits and development trajectory.

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Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, P.O. Box 500, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden.


The heterogeneous, chronic, and proliferating aspect of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and comorbidities covers heritability, cognitive, emotional, motor, and everyday behavioral domains that place individuals presenting the condition at some considerable disadvantage. Disruption of "typical developmental trajectories" in the manifestation of gene-environment interactive predispositions implies that ADHD children and adolescents may continue to perform at defective levels as adults with regard to academic achievement, occupational enterprises, and interpersonal relationships, despite the promise of pharmacotherapeutic treatments. Physical exercise provides a plethora of beneficial effects against stress, anxiety, depression, negative affect and behavior, poor impulse control, and compulsive behavior concomitant with improved executive functioning, working memory and positive affect, as well as improved conditions for relatives and care-givers. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, an essential element in normal brain development that promotes health-associated behaviors and quality-of-life, though reduced in ADHD, is increased markedly by the intervention of regular physical exercise. Functional, regional, and biomarker deficits, as well as hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal disruptions, have been improved through regular and carefully applied exercise programs. In view of the complications involving ADHD with co-morbidities, such as obesity, the influence of regular physical exercise has not been found negligible. Physical exercise bestows a propensity for eventual manifestation of "redifferentiated" developmental trajectories that may equip ADHD adults with a prognosis that is more adaptive functionally, independent of the applications of other therapeutic agents and treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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