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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Nov 30;194(2):119-29. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2011.02.003. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Neural correlates of inhibitory control in adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: evidence from the Milwaukee longitudinal sample.

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Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.


Only a few studies have investigated the neural substrate of response inhibition in adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using Stop-Signal and Go/No-Go tasks. Inconsistencies and methodological limitations in the existing literature have resulted in limited conclusions regarding underlying pathophysiology. We examined the neural basis of response inhibition in a group of adults diagnosed with ADHD in childhood and who continue to meet criteria for ADHD. Adults with ADHD (n=12) and controls (n=12) were recruited from an ongoing longitudinal study and were matched for age, IQ, and education. Individuals with comorbid conditions were excluded. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to identify and compare the brain activation patterns during correct trials of a response-inhibition task (Go/No-Go). Our results showed that the control group recruited a more extensive network of brain regions than the ADHD group during correct inhibition trials. Adults with ADHD showed reduced brain activation in the right frontal eye field, pre-supplementary motor area, left precentral gyrus, and the inferior parietal lobe bilaterally. During successful inhibition of an inappropriate response, adults with ADHD display reduced activation in fronto-parietal networks previously implicated in working memory, goal-oriented attention, and response selection. This profile of brain activation may be specifically associated with ADHD in adulthood.

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