Global brain organization is disrupted in children with ADHD
Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013, 9:00 AM -10:00 AM
++F.01.l. Executive function
*J. R. COHEN
, A. D. BARBER
, M. B. NEBEL
, M. D'ESPOSITO
, S. H. MOSTOFSKY
Helen Wills Neurosci. Inst., UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA;
Kennedy Krieger Inst., Baltimore, MD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed developmental disorder of childhood, affecting approximately 5% of children worldwide. ADHD is hypothesized to result from dysfunctional connectivity patterns within and between brain networks. Most existing research focuses on specific networks or pairs of brain regions, despite strong evidence that ADHD is associated with a distributed pattern of abnormality across much of the brain. Therefore, the goal of this study was to compare global measures of network organization across the entire brain in children with ADHD and typically developing (TD) children to determine how dysfunctional brain organization in an intrinsic (resting) state, unrelated to specific cognitive processes, may be associated with ADHD.
We collected five minutes of resting state data in children with ADHD and TD children undergoing fMRI. For analyses, groups were matched on the basis of number of participants, age, gender, and average motion during the scan. We applied graph theoretical tools to calculate global measures of network organization across the entire brain. We focused on three measures: modularity, clustering, and global efficiency. Modularity is a measure of the brain’s organization into separate, densely-connected networks (or modules) with only sparse connections across networks. Clustering is a measure of how inter-connected neighboring nodes are. Global efficiency is a measure of how few steps it takes to link any pair of nodes together (higher global efficiency indicates more long-range connections).
Modularity was significantly increased in children with ADHD as compared to TD children. When separately examining within-network connections (clustering) and long-range connections (global efficiency), children with ADHD displayed increased clustering and decreased global efficiency as compared to TD children. Taken together, these findings indicate that children with ADHD, as compared to TD children, show increased within-network connectivity and decreased connectivity across networks.
These findings imply that children with ADHD have decreased integration across distinct intrinsic networks, even in the absence of specific cognitive demands. Such integration is critical for complex cognitive processes, such as response control and working memory, processes that are impaired in ADHD.
NIH Grant R01MH085328
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