Ritalin May Help Working Memory in Kids with ADHD

A study looking at the effects of Ritalin on working memory, found improvements in both manipulation and storage of information.

Thursday February 28th - 10:31am

Researchers at the University of Toronto, in Canada, have completed a study looking at the effects of methylphenidate, marketed under the brand name Ritalin, on working memory. They gave 130 children between the ages of six and 12 either three doses of Ritalin or a placebo. To test effects on working memory, the children were given four tasks: each one varying by whether it dealt with storage or manipulation of information, and whether the information was given in the auditory-verbal modality or the visual-spatial modality.

The results of the study provided evidence that Ritalin improves manipulation of auditory-verbal and visual-spatial information in ADHD children. The researchers also found improvements in visual-spatial storage.

However, when children with comorbid ADHD and Anxiety were tested, the results were not as positive. Children with both disorders did not show improvement in manipulating auditory-verbal information, or in the storage of visual-spatial information. They did, however, show the same benefits in visual-spatial manipulation as children with only ADHD.

These results may lead to more targeted treatment of children with ADHD and those with co-occuring Anxiety. They also add to the growing understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the disorder.

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