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Behavioral and Neurophysiological Markers of ADHD in Children, Adolescents, and Adults: A Large-Scale Clinical Study


Münger, Marionna; Candrian, Gian; Kasper, Johannes; Abdel-Rehim, Hossam; Eich, Dominique; Müller, Andreas; Jäncke, Lutz (2021). Behavioral and Neurophysiological Markers of ADHD in Children, Adolescents, and Adults: A Large-Scale Clinical Study. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience:1550059421993340.

Abstract

This study aimed to re-evaluate the possible differences between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) subjects and healthy controls in the context of a standard Go/NoGo task (visual continuous performance test [VCPT]), frequently used to measure executive functions. In contrast to many previous studies, our sample comprises children, adolescents, and adults. We analyzed data from 447 ADHD patients and 227 healthy controls. By applying multivariate linear regression analyses, we controlled the group differences between ADHD patients and controls for age and sex. As dependent variables we used behavioral (number of omission and commission errors, reaction time, and reaction time variability) and neurophysiological measures (event-related potentials [ERPs]). In summary, we successfully replicated the deviations of ADHD subjects from healthy controls. The differences are small to moderate when expressed as effect size measures (number of omission errors: d = 0.60, reaction time variability: d = 0.56, contingent negative variation (CNV) and P3 amplitudes: -0.35 < d < -0.47, ERP latencies: 0.21 < d < 0.29). Further analyses revealed no substantial differences between ADHD subtypes (combined, inattentive, and hyperactive/impulsive presentation), subgroups according to high- and low-symptomatic burden or methylphenidate intake for their daily routine. We successfully replicated known differences between ADHD subjects and controls for the behavioral and neurophysiological variables. However, the small-to-moderate effect sizes limit their utility as biomarkers in the diagnostic procedure. The incongruence of self-reported symptomatic burden and clinical diagnosis emphasizes the challenges of the present clinical diagnosis with low reliability, which partially accounts for the low degree of discrimination between ADHD subjects and controls.

Abstract

This study aimed to re-evaluate the possible differences between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) subjects and healthy controls in the context of a standard Go/NoGo task (visual continuous performance test [VCPT]), frequently used to measure executive functions. In contrast to many previous studies, our sample comprises children, adolescents, and adults. We analyzed data from 447 ADHD patients and 227 healthy controls. By applying multivariate linear regression analyses, we controlled the group differences between ADHD patients and controls for age and sex. As dependent variables we used behavioral (number of omission and commission errors, reaction time, and reaction time variability) and neurophysiological measures (event-related potentials [ERPs]). In summary, we successfully replicated the deviations of ADHD subjects from healthy controls. The differences are small to moderate when expressed as effect size measures (number of omission errors: d = 0.60, reaction time variability: d = 0.56, contingent negative variation (CNV) and P3 amplitudes: -0.35 < d < -0.47, ERP latencies: 0.21 < d < 0.29). Further analyses revealed no substantial differences between ADHD subtypes (combined, inattentive, and hyperactive/impulsive presentation), subgroups according to high- and low-symptomatic burden or methylphenidate intake for their daily routine. We successfully replicated known differences between ADHD subjects and controls for the behavioral and neurophysiological variables. However, the small-to-moderate effect sizes limit their utility as biomarkers in the diagnostic procedure. The incongruence of self-reported symptomatic burden and clinical diagnosis emphasizes the challenges of the present clinical diagnosis with low reliability, which partially accounts for the low degree of discrimination between ADHD subjects and controls.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Neurology
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Language:English
Date:25 March 2021
Deposited On:14 Apr 2021 08:02
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 20:00
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1550-0594
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1550059421993340
PubMed ID:33764193
Project Information:
  • : FunderVontobel Foundation
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  • : Project Title
  • : FunderWalter-Haefner Stiftung
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderBrain and Trauma Foundation Grison Switzerland
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