Persisting primitive reflexes in medication-naïve girls with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder
Jana Konicarova,1 Petr Bob,1,2 Jiri Raboch1
1Center for Neuropsychiatric Research of Traumatic Stress, Department of Psychiatry, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; 2Central European Institute of Technology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Background and objectives: Recent and historical findings suggest that later-developed functions during brain ontogenesis related to higher levels of cognitive and motor integration tend to replace the older, more primitive, ones, and the persistence of the older functions may be linked to specific neuropsychiatric disorders. Currently, there is growing evidence to suggest that persisting primitive reflexes may be related to developmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Preliminary data also suggest that persisting primitive reflexes may be specifically linked to attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Methods: In the study reported here, we tested to what extent the persisting primitive asymmetric tonic neck reflex and symmetric tonic neck reflex are related to ADHD symptoms measured by Conners' Parent Questionnaire in 35 medication-naïve girls of school age (8–11 years) with ADHD. The results were compared with those of a control group of 30 girls of the same age.
Results: This study showed that persisting primitive reflexes are closely linked to ADHD symptoms.
Conclusion: The data suggest that ADHD symptoms may be linked to more primitive neural mechanisms interfering with higher brain functions due to insufficiently developed cognitive and motor integration.
Keywords: ADHD, asymmetric tonic neck reflex, symmetric tonic neck reflex, developmental disorders
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