How Ritalin affects the brain
The study's a few years old, but since we recently talked about ADHD on Episode 13 of the podcast, here's some info: A study posted in the November 2006 issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry suggests the possible mechanism by which Ritalin affects attention and decision-making. The drug seems to have an impact on the prefrontal cortex, an area responsible for higher-level reasoning and executive functions - the skills necessary to work towards future goals. Therapeutic doses of the medication in rats increased sensitivity to important signals from hippocampus while reducing sensitivity to less-important, potentially distracting signals.
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