New research has established a possible link between high-fat diets and such childhood brain-based conditions as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and memory-dependent learning disabilities.
Researchers report changes in brain chemistry in people who take the medication Ritalin without it being prescribed to them. Changes impacted body weight, risk taking behaviors and locomotive activity. Additionally, women were more sensitive to the behavioral effects that men.
A new neuroimaging study reveals methylphenidate, better known as Ritalin, increases the level of dopamine available in the caudate. Along with increased dopamine levels, researchers also notice greater functional connectivity between the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and precuneus, three areas of the brain associated with memory and attention.
Methylphenidate, a drug given to help treat ADHD, affects specific tract in white matter in young boys. The effects are age dependant as the changes were not observed in adults who use the treatment. Researchers say the drug should only be given to children if they are significantly affected by ADHD in their daily lives.
Methylphenidate may boost norepinephrine levels in the prefrontal cortex, which in turn regulates dopaminergic neurons firing in the striatum, when a reward is delivered. The study sheds new light on how medications for ADHD affect the reward system in the brain.
Study sheds new light on the neurobiological mechanisms that occur, allowing the ADHD drug Ritalin to improve attention and report the drug could have benefits for a range of cognitive changes associated with aging.