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content:medicine:diseases:g-l:hypofrontality

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Hypofrontality

Hypofrontality refers to a decreased blood flow in the frontal cortex of the human brain. Some studies suggest the decease can be as much as 5%. (example ref.)

It was first discovered in 1974, and was initially assumed to be due to anti-psychotic drugs which patients were taking. But subsequent studies confirmed the findings in patients who were not undergoing treatment.

It's now known to be associated with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)plugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigAttention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neuro-developmental mental disorder. It's characterized by problems in paying attention, excessive activity, or difficulty in controlling behavior (typically not appropriate for a person's age). Symptoms usually begin at between six to twelve years of age, and, to be classified as ADHD must be present for more than six months and cause problems in at least two settings (e.g. school, home, or iโ€ฆ
, Schizophreniaplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigSchizophrenia

"Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, auditory and visual hallucinations, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation."
and Major Depressive Disorderplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigMajor Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), also known simply as 'depression', is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of pervasive low mood.

Current estimates are that severe depression affects around 2% of the global population at any given time, currently more than 150 million. The majority of cases don't appear to have an obvious personal and/or societal cause.

It's not known, however, if the decreased blood flow is as a result of the underlying psychological disorder, or whether it's contributing to cause the disorder. Or whether they simply occur alongside each other.

Currently, the exact neurophysiological mechanisms that cause hypofrontality are unknown. However, there are some possible mechanisms that are plausible and would account for many of the effects of hypofrontality

Source : Wikipedia

The dominant current theory is that there is some kind of neuronal damage which leads to poor neuro-transmission, and which then causes both the psychological problems and the hypofrontality.

Because of the possibility that hypofrontality may be causing the psychological problems, it's currently the subject of intense research - as it may be feasible to increase the bloodflow with medication(s) and so relieve the symptoms.

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