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Int J Psychophysiol. 2003 Feb;47(2):129-37.

Effects of stimulant medications on the EEG of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Predominantly Inattentive type.

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Brain & Behaviour Research Institute and Department of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Australia.


Stimulant medications are the most commonly-used treatments for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in North America and Australia, although it is still not entirely known how these medications work. This study investigated the effects of stimulant medications on the EEG of children with the Inattentive type of ADHD. An initial EEG was recorded during an eyes-closed resting condition and Fourier transformed to provide absolute and relative power estimates for the delta, theta, alpha and beta bands. Theta/alpha and theta/beta ratios were also calculated. Subjects were placed on a 6-month trial of a stimulant and a second EEG was recorded at the end of the trial. Subjects were included in this study only if they showed a good clinical response during the trial. The unmedicated ADHD group had significantly greater absolute and relative theta, less relative alpha, and higher theta/alpha and theta/beta ratios than the control group. The stimulant medications resulted in a normalisation of the EEG, with changes in the theta, alpha and beta bands being most evident. These results suggest that stimulants act to increase cortical arousal in children with ADHD, normalising their EEG.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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