Autism, ADHD, & OCD More Similar Than We Thought
Autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may have more in common than previously thought. A recent study by the American Journal of Psychiatry involved brain imaging of white matter and discovered there were impairments in the main tract connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
This main tract is called the corpus callosum and is the largest tract in the brain and one of the first regions to develop. The white matter in this tract enables communication between different brain regions using nerve fiber connections. The scientists found that children with autism and ADHD had more severe impairments affecting the brain’s white matter than children with OCD but this is most likely due to the fact that ADHD and autism have an earlier onset than OCD and so the corpus callosum is likely more affected due to this.
Autism, ADHD, and OCD have commonalities in gene mutations and symptoms and yet they’ve been regarded as three separate disorders. However, the common behavior impairments across all three disorders have been either attention problems, social difficulties, or a combination of the two, all of which vary based on the individual and severity. The fact that they’re so similar raises the question of where similarities stop, biologically and in definition and if, perhaps, all three are part of a larger encompassing disease.
Hopefully this study will highlight the brain structure’s relation to behavior impairment and the shared biology of certain conditions. Furthermore, the study may increase the amount of treatments available by encouraging the sharing of treatments previously thought to be valid for only one specific condition that may, as we are learning now, be effective for others.