Examining the relationships between anterior cingulate cortex morphology and behaviour in ADHD




Direnfeld, Esther Yona

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder characterized by increased hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Some theories propose that ADHD is caused by a deficit in inhibitory control, interacting with other executive functions (e.g., emotional control) to lead to behavioural dysfunction. Furthermore, certain brain regions have been found to be involved in executive functions, and several studies have examined the neural correlates of ADHD at broad-based levels. Increased interest has been placed on the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC), which is known to play a role in attention and other complex cognitive processes. Thus, to further clarify the nature of the behavioural and cognitive deficits observed in ADHD, and to elucidate potential relationships between these difficulties and their neural substrates with more specificity, volumetric analyses of the ACC were conducted. For this purpose, 10 children with ADHD and 10 matched controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological assessment. Manual tracing of ACC subregions was conducted using ANALYZE 9.0 (Mayo Clinic), followed by between-group statistical comparisons. Correlation analyses were used to investigate whether ACC subregions were associated with performance on executive functions tasks. It was hypothesized that there would be significant volumetric groups differences between the two groups, and that subregions would have a differential relationship with executive function performance. Results indicated the ADHD group has marginally larger right dorsal ACC volumes relative to controls. Further, between the two groups, brain-behaviour relationships were different. These results provide support for the hypothesis of a delay in neuronal maturation of the ACC in children with ADHD from Spain.



ADHD, Neuroimaging, Anterior Cingulate Cortex