EDIT: Oops. Actually, I got the first article from ashliana and the second article from adults_add rather than both from the add groups. Apologies to ashliana.
The paper that is specifically on ADD has a precis of:
ADD is a neurobiological disorder, characterized by a short attention span, distractibility, disorganization (for both space and time), and for some restlessness and impulsivity. Current research localizes the problem to the frontal lobes of the brain (Amen 1997), the part of the brain that controls concentration, attention span, motivation, judgment, impulse control and organization (Luria 1969). When most people with ADD try to concentrate this part of the brain becomes less active, rather than more active as it does in normal controls.The paper is Windows into the A.D.D. Mind and I think that many people would benefit from a read of it.
Another interesting bit is in the diagnosis of it. The paper states:
It is important to note that attentional problems in ADD occur on an ongoing basis for regular, routine, everyday tasks, such as schoolwork, homework, chores and paperwork. What often fools professionals and teachers is that many people with ADD can pay attention just fine for things that are new (sitting in the pediatrician's office), novel, highly interesting (video games) or frightening (dad coming home from work after mom has called him out of a meeting). Those situations provide enough of their own stimulation. In diagnosing ADD, it is important to ask about regular occurring situations, not just can the child , teen or adult pay attention.I actually had a problem where this one psychiatrist who was supposed to specialize in ADD decided that I didn't have it since I didn't seem to distracted in his office. What a bloody idiot. It was his fault that I ended up on buprion.
Something that I hadn't known was the connection of ADD to dopamine. Summarized from the article:
Tied to the decreased prefrontal cortex findings are the studies that indicate that ADD is largely a genetic disorder. It involves the genes for dopamine availability in the brain (Comings 1997). When dopamine availability is low more ADD symptoms are present.And finally, this last bit towards the end of the paper is quite good:
The goal of treatment needs to be the best functioning of the student, not to be off medication. Many people have the misguided belief that they will only take a "little bit" of the medication. Often this attitude causes the medication to be ineffective. The following metaphor is often helpful: When a person goes to the eye doctor because he or she is having trouble seeing, they want a prescription for the glasses that will help them see the best. They don't ask for "just a little bit of a lens," they want to see clearly! So it is with ADD, everyone is different in the quantity of medication they require to function at their best.I still get frustrated by people who assume that the ADD is not "real" and I just need to "try harder". There really is an actual, physical basis for it. It's not just "all in my head". Well, it is but not that way.
The other paper has more general information on the brain and is titled The Frontal Lobes. This paper is written by the same fellow and has some info on ADD but also goes into great detail about other parts of the frontal lobes. From this page you can also access information on other parts of the brain such as the temporal lobes, the cingulate gyrus, and others. He goes into the cognitive functions and disorders of each of the parts. For example, the Temporal Lobe processes auditory input and performs long-term storage of sensory input. The page about the Cingulate Gyrus talks about its relation to Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
There is much fun on this site. At least for those of us delighted with neurological insights.