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Psychiatry Res. 2012 May 31;202(2):150-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Diffusion tensor imaging reveals white matter abnormalities in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

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Center for ADHD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


The specific brain structures or neural mechanisms underlying dysfunction in individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are not well established, particularly in regard to white matter (WM). Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to investigate WM in 12 adolescent males diagnosed with ADHD only and 12 typically developing controls (group matched; mean age=15.64 years, SD=1.15). In addition to fractional anisotropy (FA), we also examined axial and radial diffusivity (AD and RD) in an effort to help elucidate conflicting findings suggesting that both lower and higher FA values are characteristic of ADHD. Tract-based spatial statistics and voxel-wide analyses were conducted on the data utilizing a pre-frontal mask to enable focus on fronto-striatal and prefrontal pathways. Adolescents with ADHD had significantly higher FA and AD values in fronto-striatal pathways compared with controls. No differences were observed for RD. These results contribute to the growing literature implicating prefrontal WM variations in neuropsychiatric disorders, and are consistent with findings suggesting a role for fronto-striatal pathways in ADHD pathophysiology.

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