Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Lab


On September 24th, the Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory(Research Leader: Professor Ippeita Dan, Faculty of Science and Engineering)at the Center for Research and Development Initiatives held a press conference to announce research results.

Use of optical topography brain function analysis to visualize the effect of ADHD drugs—Establishing the basis for tailor-made treatment based on individual symptoms


Professor Ippeita Dan: Center for Research and Development Initiatives, Department of Integrated Science and Engineering for Sustainable Society, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Chuo University Full-Time Instructor Yukifumi Monden, Professor Takanori Yamagata, Assistant Professor Masako Nagashima: Department of Pediatrics, Division of Medicine, Jichi Medical University

A joint research group led by Jichi Medical University (Monden, Yamagata) and Chuo University (Dan) has succeeded in visualizing the effectiveness of drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To achieve visualization, the research group used optical topography, a non-invasive brain function imaging method which uses optics.

ADHD is a common form of neurodevelopmental disorder that appears from infancy in more than 5% of the total population. Accompanying symptoms include reacting without the ability to wait (impulse), being jittery (hyperactivity) and frequently forgetting things (attention deficit). Diagnosis and review for the effectiveness of drugs used to treat ADHD is mainly performed through behavior observation. Researchers have long sought to develop an objective assessment method.

In the joint research group’s experiment, sustained-release methylphenidate hydrochloride or atomoxetine was administered to 50 children (age 6 to 14) with ADHD. Then, a placebo (drug without medicinal ingredients) was administered to the same children on a different day. Before and after administration of the drugs, optical topography was used to measure brain activity during behavioral suppression games and concentration games. Approximately 6 minutes were required to take a single measurement. For comparison purposes, the same games were played by 50 typically-developed children who did not take any medicine.

In the typically-developed children, brain activity was observed in the right prefrontal cortex during behavioral suppression games, and in the right prefrontal cortex and right parietal lobe during concentration games. In children with ADHD, no activity was observed before administration of drugs or after administration of the placebo. However, after given sustained-release methylphenidate hydrochloride, there was strong recovery of activity in the right prefrontal cortex during both concentration games and behavior suppression games. After given atomoxetine, there was weak recovery of activity in the right prefrontal cortex during behavior suppression games, and weak recovery in the right prefrontal cortex and right parietal lobe during concentration games.

In this way, it was clarified that optical topography can be used to visualize the drug therapy given to children with ADHD. Furthermore, by analyzing the type of drug and brain activity, it was determined that each drug has unique recovery effects for brain activity. In the future, this research will be advanced further so that drug effects depending on ADHD symptoms and drug action can be analyzed through optical topography for brain activity. This will promote the development of tailor-made treatment.

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