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Neurosci Bull. 2013 Feb;29(1):16-27. doi: 10.1007/s12264-013-1306-2. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Effects of methylphenidate on resting-state brain activity in normal adults: an fMRI study.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, China.


Methylphenidate (MPH) is one of the most commonly used stimulants for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although several studies have evaluated the effects of MPH on human brain activation during specific cognitive tasks using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), few studies have focused on spontaneous brain activity. In the current study, we investigated the effect of MPH on the intra-regional synchronization of spontaneous brain activity during the resting state in 18 normal adult males. A handedness questionnaire and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale were applied before medication, and a resting-state fMRI scan was obtained 1 h after medication (20 mg MPH or placebo, order counterbalanced between participants). We demonstrated that: (1) there were no significant differences in the performance of behavioral tasks between the MPH and placebo groups; (2) the left middle and superior temporal gyri had stronger MPHrelated regional homogeneity (ReHo); and (3) the left lingual gyrus had weaker MPH-related ReHo. Our findings showed that the ReHo in some brain areas changes with MPH compared to placebo in normal adults, even though there are no behavioral differences. This method can be applied to patients with mental illness who may be treated with MPH, and be used to compare the difference between patients taking MPH and normal participants, to help reveal the mechanism of how MPH works.

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