A team of scientists at Holland Bloorview, CAMH and SickKids have found similar changes in white matter in the brains of children with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
In a study of 200 children with autism, ADHD, OCD or no diagnosis, the researchers found impairments in white matter in the corpus callosum in the children with autism, ADHD or OCD. The corpus callosum connects the right and left hemispheres.
The study was published this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry. This CAMH news release gives an excellent overview of the study.
More severe changes were found in the children with autism and ADHD, which are thought to have an earlier onset.
The findings are important "because they tell us that these different disorders share brain biology," says senior author Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou, a neurologist and clinician scientist at Holland Bloorview who is head of the Province of Ontario Neurodevelomental Disorders Network (POND).
Historically autism, ADHD and OCD have been treated as different disorders, but POND is studying them collectively. This research used POND's magnetic resonance imaging data.
"The more we understand about the shared biology, the more effective treatments we can develop for common problems," Evdokia says.