Neurobiology of ADHD


Approximately 2-5% of children suffer from ADHD and in this podcast, Dr Katia Rubia begins by answering the question What is ADHD?, addressing the triad of symptoms – age inappropriate inattention, hyperactivity, impulsiveness – and raising some diagnostic and cultural issues. She then goes on to discuss in detail brain development and the neurobiological implications.


Date published: 20 August 2008

Audio running time: 19 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes:


By the end of this podcast we hope you will be able to:

  • describe the varying prevalences of ADHD

  • talk about the implications of brain development and different brain structures and functions in ADHD including:

    • the significance of the inferior frontal cortex, the cerebellum, the basal ganglia and the parietal lobes in ADHD

    • key research findings which show that ADHD is caused by a delayed brain maturation, and functional and structural abnormalities in brain regions important for attention, and the inhibition and control of behaviour


  • describe the interplay between the environment and genes in the aetiology of ADHD

  • provide examples which demonstrate the plasticity of the brain and lend support to an understanding of the aetiology of ADHD


  • detail some of the causative agents in ADHD

  • list some of the treatments available for ADHD and the current limitations.


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Please note: This podcast was recorded in 2008. Please be aware that some of the material covered and/or guidance may have changed.
© 2020 Royal College of Psychiatrists