Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Impairs Motor Skills

Gender-specific differences noted in motor development of ADHD children

TUESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with impaired development of motor function affecting boys more significantly than girls, according to a report published in the November issue of Neurology.

W.R. Cole, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined differences in age-related changes in motor function among 132 ADHD children and 136 normally developing controls. ADHD was diagnosed using parental interview and behavioral rating scales, while the motor function constructs of motor speed, overflow and dysrhythmia were evaluated using the revised Physical and Neurological Assessment of Subtle Signs (PANESS).

Timed tasks significantly improved in both control and ADHD groups with age, but controls remained consistently faster across all ages, the researchers report. ADHD girls and controls demonstrated consistent age-related declines in overflow and dysrhythmia, while boys with ADHD demonstrated little developmental improvement in these signs through 14 years of age, the investigators found.

"Motor examinations, such as the PANESS, which highlight both speed and subtle signs, may be sensitive to anomalous neurologic development, even in the absence of 'cognitive' neuropsychological findings," the authors conclude. "Such assessment may be especially useful for higher functioning children with ADHD, who may perform normally on other neuropsychological measures."

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