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Neuropsychology. 2011 Nov;25(6):711-9. doi: 10.1037/a0024479.

Identifying a distinctive familial frequency band in reaction time fluctuations in ADHD.

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  • 1Institute for Disorders of Impulse & Attention, Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Patients with ADHD are typically more variable in their reaction times (RT) than control children. Signal processing analyses have shown that time series RT data of children with ADHD have a distinctive low frequency periodic structure suggestive of a pattern of occasional spontaneous performance lapses. Here we use a fine-grained analysis of spectral power across a broader frequency range to differentiate the periodic qualities of ADHD time series RT data from (a) 1/frequency noise, and (b) control performance. We also assess the familiality of these frequencies by using a proband-sibling design.

METHOD:

Seventy-one children with ADHD, one of their siblings, and 50 control participants completed a simple RT task. Power across the RT frequency spectrum was calculated. The frequencies significantly differentiating the two groups were identified. Familiality was assessed in two ways: first, by comparing probands with their unaffected siblings and controls, and, second, by investigating the siblings of neuropsychologically impaired and unimpaired children with ADHD.

RESULTS:

Analyses converged to highlight the potential importance of the .20-.26 Hz band in differentiating the periodic structure of ADHD RT time series data from both 1/frequency noise and control performance. This frequency band also showed the strongest evidence of familiality.

CONCLUSIONS:

RT performance of children with ADHD had a distinctive periodic structure. The band identified as most differentiating and familial was at a higher frequency than in most previous reports. This highlights the importance of employing tasks with faster interstimulus intervals that will allow a larger portion of the frequency spectrum to be examined.

PMID:
21728424
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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