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White matter microstructure and the variable adult outcome of childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


ABSTRACT: Changes in cerebral cortical anatomy have been tied to the clinical course of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We now ask if alterations in white matter tract microstructure are likewise linked with the adult outcome of childhood ADHD. Seventy-five young adults, 32 with ADHD persisting from childhood and 43 with symptom remission were contrasted against 74 never-affected comparison subjects. Using diffusion tensor imaging, we defined fractional anisotropy, a metric related to white matter microstructure, along with measures of diffusion perpendicular (radial) and parallel (axial) to the axon. Analyses were adjusted for head motion, age and sex, and controlled for multiple comparisons and medication history. Tract-based analyses showed that greater adult inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, was associated with significantly lower fractional anisotropy in the left uncinate (standardized ?=-0.37, t=3.28, p=0.002) and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculi (standardized ?=-0.37, t=3.29, p=0.002). The ADHD group with symptoms persisting into adulthood had significantly lower fractional anisotropy than the never-affected controls in these tracts, differences associated with medium to large effect sizes. By contrast, the ADHD group that remitted by adulthood did not differ significantly from controls. The anomalies were found in tracts that connect components of neural systems pertinent to ADHD, such as attention control (inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus) and emotion regulation and the processing of reward (the uncinate fasciculus). Change in radial rather than axial diffusivity was the primary driver of this effect, suggesting pathophysiological processes including altered myelination as future targets for pharmacological and behavioral interventions.

SUBMITTER: Shaw P 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4289964 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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