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Characterizing neuroanatomic heterogeneity in people with and without ADHD based on subcortical brain volumes

By Ting Li, Daan van Rooij, Nina Roth Mota, Jan K. Buitelaar, the ENIGMA ADHD Working Group, Martine Hoogman, Alejandro Arias Vasquez, Barbara Franke

Posted 08 Dec 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/868414

Background: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder in children and adults. Neuroanatomic heterogeneity limits our understanding of the etiology of ADHD. This study aimed to parse neuroanatomic heterogeneity of ADHD, and to determine whether subgroups could be discerned in patients based on subcortical volumes. Methods: Using the dataset from the ENIGMA-ADHD Working Group, we applied exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to subcortical volumes of 993 boys with and without ADHD, and to subsamples of 653 adult men, 400 girls, and 447 women. Factor scores derived from the EFA were used to build networks. A community detection (CD) algorithm clustered participants into subgroups based on the networks. Results: Three factors (basal ganglia, limbic system, and thalamus) were found in boys and men with and without ADHD. The factor structures for girls and women differed from those in males. Given sample size considerations, we concentrated subsequent analyses on males. Male participants could be separated into four communities, though Community 3 was absent in healthy men. Significantly case-control differences of subcortical volumes were observed within communities in boys with increased effect sizes, but not in men. While we found no significant differences in ADHD symptom severity between communities in boys or men; affected men in Community 1 and 4 presented comorbidities more frequently than those in other communities. Conclusion: Our results indicate that neuroanatomic heterogeneity in subcortical volumes exists, irrespective of ADHD diagnosis. Effect sizes of case-control differences appear more pronounced at least in some of the subgroups.

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