THE NEURAL MECHANISMS UNDERLYING THE EFFECT OF EXERCISE IN PEOPLE WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
KeywordsAttention deficit disorder
moderate aerobic exercise
reticular activating system
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by difficulty regulating attention that results in cognitive, behavioral, and motor symptoms. Research suggests that it is due to low dopamine in certain brain regions primarily in the prefrontal cortex. The main neural circuits implicated are the delay aversion and executive functioning circuits which use dopamine and norepinephrine as their signaling molecules. These circuits together account for impulse control, sustained attention, response inhibition, set shifting, planning, distribution of cognitive energy, and working memory. The reticular activating system has also been linked to ADHD and is associated with both cognitive and motor symptoms of the disorder. Studies indicate that moderate aerobic exercise improves symptoms in cognitive, behavioral, and motor domains in adolescents with ADHD. They have also connected this to dopamine and norepinephrine. This suggests that moderate aerobic exercise may improve symptoms of ADHD by acting on the delay aversion, executive functioning, and reticular activating system circuits.
Degree ProgramNeuroscience and Cognitive Science