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Comorbidity of reading disabilities and ADHD: Structural and functional brain characteristics


Langer, Nicolas; Benjamin, Christopher; Becker, Bryce L C; Gaab, Nadine (2019). Comorbidity of reading disabilities and ADHD: Structural and functional brain characteristics. Human Brain Mapping, 40(9):2677-2698.

Abstract

Reading disabilities (RD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are two of the most common developmental disorders. RD and ADHD frequently co-occur, which raises questions about how the disorders interact and to what extent they can be differentiated. To date, the underlying neural mechanisms leading to RD-ADHD comorbidity (COM) are not understood. In this study, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were combined with comprehensive behavioral testing in order to characterize the behavior, brain structure, and neural correlates of executive function, phonological processing and reading fluency in 60 children with clinical diagnoses of RD, ADHD, or COM, and controls. Whole-brain analyses of variance were performed on cortical thickness values and on the data of the three fMRI tasks to investigate overall group differences. To validate these findings, a region of interest analysis was performed in regions that have previously been shown to exhibit group differences in children with RD or ADHD using the same paradigms. The neuroimaging results demonstrated structural and functional atypicalities for COM in regions that are frequently associated with deficits in children with isolated ADHD or RD. A combination of shared and distinctive brain alterations between the clinical groups was identified, supporting the multiple deficit model for ADHD, RD, and its comorbidity.

Abstract

Reading disabilities (RD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are two of the most common developmental disorders. RD and ADHD frequently co-occur, which raises questions about how the disorders interact and to what extent they can be differentiated. To date, the underlying neural mechanisms leading to RD-ADHD comorbidity (COM) are not understood. In this study, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were combined with comprehensive behavioral testing in order to characterize the behavior, brain structure, and neural correlates of executive function, phonological processing and reading fluency in 60 children with clinical diagnoses of RD, ADHD, or COM, and controls. Whole-brain analyses of variance were performed on cortical thickness values and on the data of the three fMRI tasks to investigate overall group differences. To validate these findings, a region of interest analysis was performed in regions that have previously been shown to exhibit group differences in children with RD or ADHD using the same paradigms. The neuroimaging results demonstrated structural and functional atypicalities for COM in regions that are frequently associated with deficits in children with isolated ADHD or RD. A combination of shared and distinctive brain alterations between the clinical groups was identified, supporting the multiple deficit model for ADHD, RD, and its comorbidity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:15 June 2019
Deposited On:26 Feb 2019 14:53
Last Modified:10 May 2019 01:04
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1065-9471
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24552
PubMed ID:30784139
Project Information:
  • : FunderNICHD
  • : Grant IDRO1 HD067312 and RO1 HD065762
  • : Project Title

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