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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1994 Jul-Aug;33(6):858-68.

Reduced brain metabolism in hyperactive girls.

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  • 1Section on Clinical Brain Imaging, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892.



This study assesses the effect of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and gender on cerebral glucose metabolism (CMRglu), using positron emission tomography and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose.


Nineteen normal (6 females; 14.3 +/- 1.3 years old) and 20 ADHD adolescents (5 females; 14.7 +/- 1.6 years old) participated in the study. An auditory continuous performance task was used during the 30-minute uptake of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose.


There were no statistically significant differences in global or regional CMRglu between ADHD (N = 20) and normal (N = 19) adolescents. However, the global CMRglu in ADHD girls (N = 5) was 15.0% lower than in normal girls (N = 6) (p = .04), while global CMRglu in ADHD boys was not different than in normal boys. Furthermore, global CMRglu in ADHD girls was 19.6% lower than in ADHD boys (p = .02) and was not different between normal girls and normal boys. Clinical rating scales did not differentiate ADHD girls from ADHD boys, nor normal girls from normal boys.


The greater brain metabolism abnormalities in females than males strongly stress that more attention be given to the study of girls with ADHD.

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