MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences : Biology and Treatment of Other Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Biology And Treatment Of Other Disorders

If a patient were diagnosed with claustrophobia, then which area of their brain would show increased activity in an MRI study?

Possible Answers:

Amygdala

Wernicke's area

Occipital lobe

Hypothalamus

Parietal lobe

Correct answer:

Amygdala

Explanation:

The amygdala, along with the insular cortex and the limbic system, demonstrates hyperactivity when a person experiences high levels of fear and/or anxiety, and would show hyperactivity in a patient with an anxiety disorder.

On the other hand, the other choices are incorrect. For example, Wernicke's area is associated with comprehension of spoken language, while the occipital lobe is associated with visual perception. Last, the parietal lobe helps integrate various forms of sensory input with each other to create an understanding of the world.

Example Question #2 : Biology And Treatment Of Other Disorders

A study done recently showed that several management approaches, in addition to behavioral therapy interventions, may be necessary in preschool-aged children with moderate to severe attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That is, medication and some alternative therapies may be needed for preschool-aged children with ADHD who do not respond or do not follow behavior therapy. The researchers evaluated disruptive behavior in 74 children four to five years of age who were followed for 24 months. The children were randomized to either behavior therapy plus placebo or behavior therapy plus methylphenidate, and ADHD-related behaviors were compared. Parents reported ADHD symptoms observed at 6, 12, and 24 months. The researchers also noted several signs and symptoms of adverse effects that may have been due to the medication, such as insomnia, anorexia, irritability, and reduced growth and weight gain. The researchers found the children who received behavior therapy plus methylphenidate had significant reductions in ADHD symptoms at all time points compared to children who received behavior therapy plus placebo. 

Severity of ADHD was taken into account by presence of symptoms of marked impairment in social functioning. The researchers eliminated the possible role of delays in social development not specific to ADHD by analyzing children whose symptoms of social functioning impairment clearly resulted from inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Specifically, inattention was identified as the child wandering off task that was not due to lack of understanding or disobedience; hyperactivity was identified as excessive talking or fidgeting when not appropriate; and impulsivity was identified as hasty actions without forethought by the child and with significant potential to harm the child. Symptoms affecting the relationship and mental health of the child’s parents were also treated as reflective of severity of ADHD. For example, parents who experienced majorly reduced psychological well-being as a result of their child’s behavior reflected severe ADHD, and from the results, parents of children with severe ADHD who received behavior therapy plus methylphenidate reported a significant reduction in feeling unable to handle stress because of child’s behavior.

One of the researchers also found that use of some alternative therapies may be supported when combined with behavior therapy. In particular, there were decreases in hyperactive behaviors in children who were placed on additive-free diets. This finding may be of particular significance because eliminating artificial food additives may be done without risk of safety and avoids the potential adverse effects of medication.

Which conclusion is best supported by the findings in the study?

Possible Answers:

Methylphenidate shows an early response when added to behavior therapy

If avoiding sugar increases impulsive behavior, sugar should be added to diet to increase forethought by the child

Avoiding additives and sugar in diet may show an immediate response in some children with severe ADHD

Behavior therapy does not improve disruptive behavior in children with moderate to severe ADHD

Severe ADHD might be labeled inappropriately because parents need support to cope with child's behavior

Correct answer:

Methylphenidate shows an early response when added to behavior therapy

Explanation:

Methylphenidate shows an early response when added to behavior therapy is the correct answer. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The history must reveal that symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsivity are present in more than one setting, as symptoms may be absent when the patient is interacting in the clinician's office. Evidence-based behavior therapy should be prescribed as the first line of therapy for preschool-aged children, and stimulant medications may be prescribed for the preschooler with severe ADHD or inadequate response to behavior therapy.

Example Question #3 : Biology And Treatment Of Other Disorders

A study done recently showed that several management approaches, in addition to behavioral therapy interventions, may be necessary in preschool-aged children with moderate to severe attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That is, medication and some alternative therapies may be needed for preschool-aged children with ADHD who do not respond or do not follow behavior therapy. The researchers evaluated disruptive behavior in 74 children four to five years of age who were followed for 24 months. The children were randomized to either behavior therapy plus placebo or behavior therapy plus methylphenidate, and ADHD-related behaviors were compared. Parents reported ADHD symptoms observed at 6, 12, and 24 months. The researchers also noted several signs and symptoms of adverse effects that may have been due to the medication, such as insomnia, anorexia, irritability, and reduced growth and weight gain. The researchers found the children who received behavior therapy plus methylphenidate had significant reductions in ADHD symptoms at all time points compared to children who received behavior therapy plus placebo.

Severity of ADHD was taken into account by presence of symptoms of marked impairment in social functioning. The researchers eliminated the possible role of delays in social development not specific to ADHD by analyzing children whose symptoms of social functioning impairment clearly resulted from inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Specifically, inattention was identified as the child wandering off task that was not due to lack of understanding or disobedience; hyperactivity was identified as excessive talking or fidgeting when not appropriate; and impulsivity was identified as hasty actions without forethought by the child and with significant potential to harm the child. Symptoms affecting the relationship and mental health of the child’s parents were also treated as reflective of severity of ADHD. For example, parents who experienced majorly reduced psychological well-being as a result of their child’s behavior reflected severe ADHD, and from the results, parents of children with severe ADHD who received behavior therapy plus methylphenidate reported a significant reduction in feeling unable to handle stress because of child’s behavior.

One of the researchers also found that use of some alternative therapies may be supported when combined with behavior therapy. In particular, there were decreases in hyperactive behaviors in children who were placed on additive-free diets. This finding may be of particular significance because eliminating artificial food additives may be done without risk of safety and avoids the potential adverse effects of medication.

Which of the following is not a reasonable recommendation to provide for the management of moderate to severe ADHD?

Possible Answers:

ADHD symptoms may be associated with artificial food additives in diet, so behavior therapy may be avoided by adhering to additive-free diet

The pediatrician may need to discontinue methylphenidate in patients with severe ADHD due to adverse effects

Behavior therapy may provide improvement in symptoms in moderate to severe ADHD

If hyperactive behavior is noted to be associated with artificial food additives in diet, children with ADHD symptoms may be placed on additive-free diet

Methylphenidate may be prescribed if behavior therapy does not provide improvement in ADHD symptoms

Correct answer:

ADHD symptoms may be associated with artificial food additives in diet, so behavior therapy may be avoided by adhering to additive-free diet

Explanation:

ADHD symptoms may be associated with artificial food additives in diet, so behavior therapy may be avoided by adhering to additive-free diet is the correct answer. Behavior therapy should be prescribed for all preschool-aged children as treatment for ADHD. Stimulant medications may be prescribed for moderate to severe ADHD and when behavior therapy fails to provide improvement in ADHD symptoms.

All MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Resources

133 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
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