Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common psychiatric disorder in children and one of the most common psychiatric disorders in adults, affecting between 5-10% of the general population.

What is ADHD? Simply put, ADHD is characterized by:

  • Persistent short attention span
  • Distractibility
  • Disorganization
  • Procrastination
  • Problems with forethought and judgment
  • Impulse control

Please note: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), the “inattentive” subtype of ADHD, is similar, although it is characterized mainly by inattentiveness without impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Having untreated ADHD affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life and has been associated with:

  • Failure to reach potential at school or work
  • Family conflict
  • Drug abuse
  • Legal and criminal problems
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic stress
  • Suicide Silence

SPECT Imaging IN ADHD: Several studies demonstrated reductions in glucose metabolism at the premotor cortex and the superior prefrontal cortex. There were also evidence of decreased metabolism in several other regions,including the right thalamus, right caudate and right hippocampus. Amen et al. Investigated Tc-99m HMPAO brain SPECT findings at rest and during intellectual stress in children and adolescents with ADHD. Sixty-five percent in the ADHD group revealed decreased perfusion in the prefrontal cortex with intellectual stress. They also reported temporal lobe dysfunction in a percentage of children and adolescents with ADHD. Study by Gamze et al, noticed hypoperfusion in the temporal cortex ,more frequent than in the frontal cortex; decreased rCBF in the right medial temporal cortex and right lateral temporal cortex was associated with more severe symptoms.

SPECT can specifically help people with ADHD by:

  • Helping evaluate whether or not the person has ADHD
  • Helping determine the type of ADHD to inform treatment decisions
  • Seeing how well treatment is working
  • Finding out if there are other co-occurring conditions that need treatment
  • Reducing emotional pain and stigma by demonstrating that symptoms and behaviours are not imaginary
  • Increasing treatment compliance by showing pictures of results
  • Helping families gain a better understanding of the illness through visuals