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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e48286. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048286. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

Laminar thickness alterations in the fronto-parietal cortical mantle of patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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Unitat de Recerca en Neurociència Cognitiva, Departament de Psiquiatria i Medicina Legal, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2013;8(7). doi: 10.1371/annotation/7f26a4d8-ec45-4d43-a388-f2d0d4f1a76a.


Although Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was initially regarded as a disorder exclusive to childhood, nowadays its prevalence in adulthood is well established. The development of novel techniques for quantifying the thickness of the cerebral mantle allows the further exploration of the neuroanatomical profiles underlying the child and adult form of the disorder. To examine the cortical mantle in children and adults with ADHD, we applied a vertex-wise analysis of cortical thickness to anatomical brain MRI scans acquired from children with (n = 43) and without ADHD (n = 41), as well as a group of adult neurotypical individuals (n = 31), adult patients with a history of stimulant treatment (n = 31) and medication-naïve adults with ADHD (n = 24). We observed several clusters of reduced laminar cortical thickness in ADHD patients in comparison to neurotypical individuals. These differences were primarily located in the dorsal attention network, including the bilateral inferior and superior parietal cortex and a section of the frontal cortex (centered on the superior frontal and precentral gyrus bilaterally). Further laminar thickness deficits were observed in the bilateral orbitofrontal cortex and medial occipital cortex. The deficits in the cortical surface were especially pronounced in the child sample, while adult patients showed a more typical laminar thickness across the cerebral mantle. These findings show that the neuroanatomical profile of ADHD, especially the childhood form of the disorder, involves robust alterations in the cortical mantle, which are most prominent in brain regions subserving attentional processing.

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