Brain activity and cognitive processes are linked to ADHD remission and persistence

In a new paper published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, we report findings from our ADHD follow-up study at King’s College London where we have identified brain activity and cognitive processes linked to remission from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the transition from childhood to adolescence and adulthood.

Although ADHD persists into adult life in many individuals who receive a clinical diagnosis in childhood, a proportion of children with ADHD seem to ‘grow out’ of their disorder, no longer obtaining the diagnosis in adolescence or adulthood. Since little is known regarding differences between those who grow out of the disorder and those whose ADHD continues into adulthood, our study aimed to investigate whether there are cognitive and brain processes that distinguish these two groups.

Our results suggest that measures reflecting potentially more automatic processes, such as attention, vigilance and the brain responses to making a mistake, are associated with ADHD remission. These findings, combined with our previous results (Cheung et al., British Journal of Psychiatry, 2016), point to potential mechanisms of compensation of the disorder from childhood to adulthood. By improving our understanding of the underlying processes linked to ADHD remission, these findings could help to develop interventions for individuals with persisting ADHD.

For more information on this study, watch the video below.


Giorgia Michelini & Jonna Kuntsi

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

King’s College London


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