About this Research Topic
Decreased attention span, hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity are sensitive but non-specific brain functions and behavioral patterns, frequently reported in a wide range of children. Even experienced professionals might minimize the prevalence of a disorder such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among certain groups of patients. Therefore, the existence of attention disorders might become "transparent" for both the patient and the professional. This might lead to a non-accurate diagnosis, harm the treatment aspects, and has potential non-beneficial prognostic aspects.
The symptoms of ADHD should be cast, not as static or fixed neurobehavioral deficits, but rather in terms of underlying developmental processes. The developmental approach can provide predictions as to how characteristics associated with attention develop over time and how multiple risk and protective factors transact to impact its development, as well as the development of a broad range of associated co-morbid features.
Among children with mental retardation, autistic spectrum disorders, children who were born premature, born with low birth weight, suffer from chronic disorders (such as epilepsy, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or asthma), among adolescents who abuse drugs or suffer from eating disorders as well as among otherwise healthy pre-schoolers – the assessment of attention performance might be very challenging.
It seems that among these "double-diagnosis" populations there is a higher prevalence of patients with ADHD than in the general population. Yet the exact prevalence, neurobiological mechanisms, genetic and epigenetic modifications, diagnostic difficulties, and treatment methods have not been clearly estimated or established. During the last years, there is a growing number of publications in this field. But due to the wide range of interested professionals, these studies are published in a wide range of journals usually missing some of their "target" populations.
In this Research Topic, we will explore the latest cutting-edge research on the biological and neural pathways as well as on psychosocial and behavioral correlates of brain development and attention spectrum. In doing so we aim to highlight what is currently known regarding this new conceptualization of attention as a spectrum; the mechanisms underlying this spectrum; and where this field is headed in terms of developing our understanding of the link between brain development and attention performance. As such, this research topic seeks to serve as a useful tool for a wide range of professionals with a special interest in the unusual aspects of attention to increase their knowledge, sensitivity, and treatment methods among our patients.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.