--Original published at Robert's Psychology blog
There is a study coming from the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry correlating between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the volume of the caudate portion of the brain in 9 to 11-year-old boys of European descent. In this study the specific there were 5 psychiatric disorders, schizophrenic disorder (SCZ), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), and ADHD, and two cognitive traits, educational attainment (EA) and intelligence.
The participants for this study were selected from the Generation R Study, an ongoing study of a population based child development. In order to be studied, the participants needed to satisfy a few criteria. These criteria included; usable MRI’s, European ancestry, and usable genetic data. The study used an MRI to study the volume of the different parts of the brain, including cortical gray matter, total white matter, subcortical gray matter, ventricular volume, amygdala-hippocampus complex, caudate, putamen, and thalamus brain volumes. The study used polygenic risk scores based on genome-wide association studies, which identifies one’s genetic susceptibility for a given disorder or trait.
The study originally showed there to be a correlation between Major depression disorder, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, educational attainment, and intelligence, but after the data was fitted the only correlations shown to be significant were ADHD in boys, educational attainment, and intelligence.
The author of this study stated there is not much research done in this field of study and the only way to understand the correlation between brain morphology and genetic susceptibility I children is to do more research. They also state, “Our results should be interpreted in the context of several strengths and limitations.” Meaning the study is a good start but it is not perfect and can be made better with a better understanding of the field.