In a recent PNAS commentary, reagarding the delay rather than deviance theory of ADHD, I came across the appropriate references to back the above observations, as well as the accelerated pruning in child-onset schizophrenia. Passing that along.
An important question is whether the delay of brain maturation is a specific characteristic of ADHD or is shared by other child psychiatric disorders. So far, none of the other major psychiatric disorders have been associated with a maturational delay of brain structure. However, to my knowledge, longitudinal structural studies have been conducted only in patients with ADHD, childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS), and autism, finding maturational deviance rather than delay. Adolescents with COS are characterized by a striking nonlinear, progressive acceleration of the normal gray matter and volume decrease in cortical regions that levels off in adulthood (22). In autism, there is an early left hemispheric overgrowth of gray and white matter at young toddler age with conflicting findings of either arrested growth or remaining brain enlargement in adolescence and adulthood (23). The findings of delayed structural brain maturation seem, thus far, to be specific to ADHD and may be an important neuroanatomic trait. However, further exploration of the developmental trajectories in other child psychiatric disorders is needed to establish the importance of a delay of brain maturation as a specific neuroanatomic marker for ADHD.
(emphasis mine, references below)
22. Greenstein D, Lerch J, Shaw P, Clasen L, Giedd J, Gochman P, Rapoport J, Gogtay N (2006) J Child Psychol Psychiatry 47:1003–1012.
23. Bashat DB, Kronfeld-Duenias V, Zachor DA, Ekstein PM, Hendler T, Tarrasch R, Even A, Levy Y, Sira LB (2007) NeuroImage 37:40–47.