The study is published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
PBD and ADHD are very severe developmental disorders that share behavioral characteristics such as impulsivity, irritability and attention problems.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers at UIC examined the brain activity of children as they performed a working memory task while viewing faces with different emotions, such as angry, happy or neutral expressions.
The children, ages 10 to 18, were asked to remember the faces and to press a button in the MR-scanner if they saw the same face that was presented two trials earlier. The study involved 23 non-medicated children with bipolar disorder, 14 non-medicated children with ADHD and 19 healthy controls.
"It's a simple yet elegant working memory test that tells us a lot about how their brain remembers stimuli like faces or objects," said Alessandra Passarotti, assistant professor of psychiatry at UIC and lead author of the study. "We also added in an emotional component -- because both disorders show emotional deficits -- to study how their working memory is affected by emotional challenge."
The researchers found that while both disorders show dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex relative to healthy controls, the ADHD group had the most severe dysfunction in this important region. The prefrontal cortex controls behavior, such as impulsivity, and executive function, as well as complex cognitive processes such as working memory, attention and language.
From a treatment, learning and intervention perspective, the next step for researchers and clinicians is to figure out how to help patients use their prefrontal cortex, Passarotti said.
The researchers also found that while the ADHD group had greater dysfunction in working memory circuits in the brain, the bipolar group had more deficits in regions of the brain involved in emotion-processing and regulation.
Now that researchers are starting to differentiate between the two disorders at a brain network level, rather than just at a behavioral level, the long-term goal is to develop diagnostic tests based on neurological and behavioral markers of illness that can be used in a clinical setting. Currently patients are diagnosed using clinical measures, questionnaires, behavior scales and interviews with parents.
It is difficult for physicians to differentiate between the two disorders behaviorally, which may lead to an incorrect diagnosis and wrong medications, a worsening of symptoms, and greater frustration for children and parents, said Passarotti, a researcher in UIC's Institute for Juvenile Research.
She said that while researchers still do not understand all of the neurological deficits that characterize ADHD and PBD profiles, they know that drug treatment that works for ADHD does not work for bipolar disorder.
"In fact, if you give a stimulant to a child with bipolar disorder, they become more manic, and this makes their illness even worse, whereas if you give the mood-regulation medicine commonly prescribed for PBD to a child with ADHD, they still show a lot of attention deficits and do not show any improvement," Passarotti said.
"Our hope is that by better differentiating between these two severe developmental illnesses, we can help develop more accurate diagnoses and more targeted treatments for PBD and ADHD."
Co-authors of the study are Dr. Mani Pavuluri, the Berger-Colbeth Term Chair in Child Psychiatry and director of the Pediatric Brain Research and Intervention Center at UIC, and John Sweeney, professor of psychiatry, neurology and psychology and director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at UIC.
[Editor's Note: Images available upon request.]
For more information about UIC, visit www.uic.edu
Sherri McGinnis González | EurekAlert!
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons
The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences