ADHD Inattentive, Research on the Inattentive Rat.

In the latest edition of Neuropharmacology (2009 Dec;57), researchers from Norway report that they have found a rat model for Inattentive ADHD (ADHD-PI). “The WKY rat obtained from Charles River Germany provides a promising model for researching the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD.”

Several years ago researcher found that the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) displayed all the main symptoms of ADHD/HI (Hyperactive/Impulsive sub-type) and that this rat also had the predicted disturbances in the brain’s nervous system when they were compared to a rat with no ADHD symptoms. This is an exiting finding as finally ADHD-PI can be researched more thoroughly using an animal !! Treatment studies almost always use animals for testing first. If the treatment shows promise in the animal then the study moves on to human testing.

We know that ADHD is genetic, it runs in families so it is no surprise that both my biological son and I both have ADHD-PI. An animal with similar genes will respond to treament similarly to a human with the same gene problem. There is some thought though that it is not only genes that are important but that both the environment and genes play a role in all types of ADHD.

They have used rats to look at the influence of environment as well as the influence of genes. Another study of rats was done in South Africa using SHR rats that were mothered by rats without ADHD/HI or ADHD/C (Combined sub-type). This study found that mothering had no impact on the ADHD behavior of rats with ADHD/HI or the behavior of rats with ADHD/C. This fact is a great relief to me as I have sometimes felt guilty about the quality of my mothering of my adopted son with ADHD/HI.

I do not know for sure but I believe that nurturing is an extremely important factor in ADHD-PI. My son and I, properly motivated, behave exactly as a non ADHD person behaves. Behavioral intervention, I believe, work better for folks with ADHD-PI. I am not certain why this is so but we will follow this German rat with great interest!!


  1. I really enjoyed your article and am going to follow your blog with interest! It's great to hear that there is a potential animal model for ADHD in the offing -- that would be super.

    I'm trying to figure out how to look at some of your earlier blogs; heard there was a very interesting one on Winnie the Pooh that I'm looking for. Nice job on this!

  2. Fantastic! I am doing my Master's on ADHD and have been trying to find out if there is such thing as an ADHD rat to do my tests on. Well here we go!


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