(HealthDay News) – Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies show that a single dose of methylphenidate increases activation in specific areas of the brain in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to research published in the May/June issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Suzanne M. Czerniak, of the University of Massachusetts in Worcester, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify studies using task-based fMRI to evaluate the effect of a single dose of methylphenidate on brain function in pediatric ADHD patients. Searches of electronic databases identified 200 abstracts, and nine were selected for review based on predefined criteria.

The researchers found that single-dose methylphenidate often affected the middle and inferior frontal gyri during inhibitory control tasks in pediatric patients with ADHD. Task-based fMRI studies also identified other areas of the brain that showed changes in activity in response to methylphenidate, including the basal ganglia and the cerebellum. Methylphenidate increased activation within these areas of the brain, typically resulting (in at least some areas) in patterns of activation that resembled those observed in children without ADHD.

“In conclusion, children with ADHD showed changes in brain activation due to a single dose of methylphenidate, especially within the frontal lobes, basal ganglia, and cerebellum,” the authors write.

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