Neuroimaging and ADHD: fMRI, PET, DTI findings, and methodological limitations.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder characterized by inattentiveness, motor hyperactivity and impulsivity. According to neuroimaging data, the neural substrate underlying ADHD seems to involve fronto-striatal circuits and the cerebellum. However, there are important discrepancies between various studies, probably due to the use of different techniques. The aim of this study is to examine cerebral gray (GM) and white (WM) matter abnormalities in a group of ADHD children using a voxel-based morphometry protocol. The sample consisted of 25 children/adolescents with DSM-IV TR diagnosis of ADHD (medicated, aged 6-16 years) who were compared with 25 healthy volunteer children/adolescents. ADHD brains on an average showed a global volume decrease of 5.4% as compared to controls. Additionally, there were regionally specific effects in the left fronto-parietal areas (left motor, premotor and somatosensory cortex), left cingulate cortex (anterior/middle/posterior cingulate), parietal lobe (precuneus bilaterally), temporal cortices (right middle temporal gyrus, left parahippocampal gyrus), and the cerebellum (bilateral posterior). There were no differences in WM volume between ADHD children and control subjects. The results are consistent with previous studies that used different techniques, and may represent a possible neural basis for some of the motor and attentional deficits commonly found in ADHD.