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Child Neuropsychol. 2005 Jun;11(3):265-83.

Attention problems and executive functions in children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

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Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Texas, USA.


This study addressed the incidence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) subtypes in children with spina bifida meningomyelocele and shunted hydrocephalus (SBH) as well as differences in executive functions among these subtypes. Parent rating scales revealed that 31% of the group with SBH could be identified with AD/HD, mostly the Inattentive type (23%). The group with SBH differed from normal controls on cognitive measures of executive functions, but subtype differences were not significant. Multivariate tests showed that children with SBH were rated with greater difficulties on the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) compared to controls; those with SBH and any subtype of ADHD differed from those with SBH and no ADHD; and those with ADHD (Combined Type) differed significantly from those with ADHD (Predominantly Inattentive Type). Subtype differences on univariate tests in the latter comparison were significant on the BRIEF Inhibit scale, showing more disinhibition in those with SBH and ADHD (Combined Type), but no significant differences were apparent on the BRIEF Sustain, Shift, and Initiate scales. The results show that the incidence of ADHD in children with SBH exceeds the population rate, is represented by problems with inattention rather than with impulsivity and hyperactivity; and that as with non-brain injured individuals, subtype differences in cognitive function remain to more clearly delineated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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