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Executive function oculomotor tasks in girls with ADHD.

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  • 1Child Psychiatry Branch, NIMH, Bethesda, MD, USA.



To assess executive function in girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using oculomotor tasks as possible trait markers for neurobiological studies.


Thirty-two girls aged 6 to 13 years with DSM-IV ADHD and 20 age-matched, normal control girls were tested on a variety of oculomotor tasks requiring attention, working memory, and response inhibition, which included smooth pursuit, delayed response, and go-no go tasks.


Girls with ADHD performed the delayed response task correctly on 32% of trials as measured by number of memory-guided saccades, in contrast to 62% of trials for control subjects (p = .0009). Patients made twice as many commission errors to no go stimuli (p = .0001) and 3 times as many intrusion errors (saccades in the absence of go or no go stimuli; p = .004) during the go-no go task compared with controls. Smooth pursuit performance was statistically equivalent across subject groups. Repeated testing in a subgroup of 15 patients revealed substantial practice effects on go-no go performance.


The data confirm that girls with ADHD exhibit impairments in executive function, as has been reported in boys, implying a similar pathophysiology of ADHD in both sexes. However, practice effects may limit the utility of the oculomotor go-no go task for some neurobiological studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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