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Cortex. 2015 Dec;73:62-72. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2015.08.012. Epub 2015 Aug 22.

The executive control network and symptomatic improvement in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Author information

1
Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: w.francx@donders.ru.nl.
2
Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
3
VU University Amsterdam, Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Psychiatry, Groningen, The Netherlands.
5
Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Department of Human Genetics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Department of Psychiatry, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
6
Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
7
Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Karakter Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

One neurodevelopmental theory hypothesizes remission of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to result from improved prefrontal top-down control, while ADHD, independent of the current diagnosis, is characterized by stable non-cortical deficits (Halperin & Schulz, 2006). We tested this theory using resting state functional MRI (fMRI) data in a large sample of adolescents with remitting ADHD, persistent ADHD, and healthy controls.

METHODS:

Participants in this follow-up study were 100 healthy controls and 129 adolescents with ADHD combined type at baseline (mean age at baseline 11.8 years; at follow-up 17.5 years). Diagnostic information was collected twice and augmented with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning at follow-up. We used resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) of the executive control network to investigate whether improved prefrontal top-down control was related to a developmental decrease in ADHD symptoms. In addition, we tested whether non-cortical RSFC, i.e., cerebellar and striatal RSFC, was aberrant in persistent and/or remittent ADHD compared to controls.

RESULTS:

Higher connectivity within frontal regions (anterior cingulate cortex) of the executive control network was related to decreases in ADHD symptoms. This association was driven by change in hyperactive/impulsive symptoms and not by change in inattention. Participants with remitting ADHD showed stronger RSFC than controls within this network, while persistent ADHD cases exhibited RSFC strengths intermediate to remittent ADHD cases and controls. Cerebellar and subcortical RSFC did not differ between participants with ADHD and controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

In line with the neurodevelopmental theory, symptom recovery in ADHD was related to stronger integration of prefrontal regions in the executive control network. The pattern of RSFC strength across remittent ADHD, persistent ADHD, and healthy controls potentially reflects the presence of compensatory neural mechanisms that aid symptomatic remission.

KEYWORDS:

ADHD; Development; Executive control; Hyperactivity/impulsivity; Remission; Resting state

PMID:
26363140
DOI:
10.1016/j.cortex.2015.08.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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