ADHD Research Roundup: December 15, 2023


What is new in research on ADHD?

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science thodonal_AdobeStock

In this Research Roundup, we explore new studies on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), clinical outcomes of medicinal cannabis therapy as an ADHD treatment, and the connections between ADHD and sleep disturbances, pediatric bipolar disorder, and more.

Sleep Disturbances in Comorbid ADHD and ASD
This literature review explores the recognition, assessment, and treatment of comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and sleep disruption, with a focus on children, adolescents, and emerging adults. Integrating existing literature up to September 2022, the analysis revealed complex clinical presentations of comorbid ADHD, ASD, and sleep disruption, emphasizing the high prevalence of co-occurrence and the need for integrated, multidimensional approaches to assessment and treatment.

“Assessment of ASD symptomatology in youth with ADHD, and the reverse, in cases with disrupted sleep is critical to address the special challenges for case formulation and treatment,” the investigators concluded. “Evidence-based approaches to treatment planning and multi-treatment modalities should consider combining psychosocial and biological interventions to address the complexities of each case.”


Petti T, Gupta M, Fradkin Y, Gupta N. Management of sleep disorders in autism spectrum disorder with co-occurring attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: update for cliniciansBJPsych Open. 2023;10(1):e11.

Shared Neurobiological Bases of ADHD and Pediatric Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents
This meta-analysis of whole-brain voxel-based morphometry studies in ADHD and pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) revealed shared gray matter volume (GMV) alterations in the right insula and anterior cingulate cortex, suggesting a transdiagnostic issue in attention and emotion regulation. Distinctive GMV patterns in the right inferior frontal gyrus, left orbitofrontal cortex, and hippocampus also were more pronounced in PBD, while ADHD exhibited more significant alterations in the left precentral gyrus, left inferior frontal gyrus, and right superior frontal gyrus.

“These findings suggest that PBD and ADHD are characterized by both common and distinct patterns of GMV alterations,” the investigators concluded. “Their overlapping abnormalities might represent a transdiagnostic problem of attention and emotion regulation shared by PBD and ADHD, while the disorder-differentiating substrates might contribute to the relative differences in cognitive and affective features that define the 2 disorders.”


Long Y, Pan N, Yu Y, et al. Shared and distinct neurobiological bases of bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents: a comparative meta-analysis of structural abnormalitiesJ Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.

Outcomes of Medicinal Cannabis Therapy for ADHD
This study analyzed the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and safety outcomes in patients with ADHD who were treated with cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs). Significant improvements were observed in general HRQoL, anxiety levels, and sleep quality over 12 months of treatment, and adverse events were generally well-tolerated. Although these findings suggest a potential association between CBMP treatment and positive outcomes in ADHD patients, the study underscores the need for cautious interpretation.

“Results must be interpreted with caution, as a causative effect cannot be proven,” the investigators concluded. “These results, however, do provide additional support for future evaluation within randomized controlled trials.”


Ittiphakorn P, Erridge S, Holvey C, et al. UK Medical Cannabis Registry: an analysis of clinical outcomes of medicinal cannabis therapy for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorderNeuropsychopharmacol Rep.

Note: This Research Roundup was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT.

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