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Gray matter networks associated with cognitive deficit in ADHD across adolescence and adulthood

By Jingyu Liu, Kuaikuai Duan, Wenhao Jiang, Kelly Rootes-Murdy, Gido Schoenmacker, Jan K. Buitelaar, Martine Hoogman, Jaap Oosterlaan, Pieter Hoekstra, Dirk J. Heslenfeld, Catharina A Hartman, Vince D. Calhoun, Alejandro Arias-Vasquez, Jessica A. Turner

Posted 24 Apr 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.22.20059808

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorder, and its existence in adulthood is well established. Beyond symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, patients commonly present with impairments in cognition. How neuronal underpinnings of symptoms and cognitive deficits differ across adolescence and adulthood is not clear. In this cross sectional study, we investigated gray matter of two cohorts, 486 adults and 508 adolescents, each including participants with ADHD and healthy controls. Independent component analysis was applied to the gray matter of each cohort, separately, to extract cohort specific networks. Then, we identified gray matter networks associated with symptoms, working memory and/or diagnosis in each cohort, and projected them onto the other cohort for comparison. Two components in the inferior, middle/superior frontal regions identified in adults and one component in the insula and inferior frontal region identified in adolescents were significantly associated with working memory deficits in both cohorts. One component in bilateral cerebellar tonsil and culmen identified in adults and one component in left cerebellar region identified in adolescents were significantly associated with inattentive symptoms in both cohorts. All these components presented significant or nominal level of gray matter reduction for ADHD patients in adolescents, but only one showed nominal reduction for patients in adults. Our findings suggest gray matter reduction may not be a sensitive marker for persist ADHD. However, the patterns of certain brain regions are associated with deficits in working memory or attention persistently from childhood into adulthood, which might help understand the mechanism of disease persistence.

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