Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder that, by current definition, has onset prior to age 7 years. MRI studies have provided some insight into brain differences associated with ADHD, but thus far have almost exclusively focused on children ages 7 years and older. To better understand the neurobiological development of ADHD, cortical and subcortical brain development should be systematically examined in younger children presenting with symptoms of the disorder. High-resolution anatomical (MPRAGE) images, acquired on a 3.0T scanner, were analyzed in a total of 26 preschoolers, ages 4-5 years (13 with ADHD, 13 controls, matched on age and sex). The ADHD sample was diagnosed using DSM-IV criteria, and screened for language disorders. Cortical regions were delineated and measured using automated methods in Freesurfer; basal ganglia structures were manually delineated. Children with ADHD showed significantly reduced caudate volumes bilaterally; in contrast there were no significant group differences in cortical volume or thickness in this age range. After controlling for age and total cerebral volume, left caudate volume was a significant predictor of hyperactive/impulsive, but not inattentive symptom severity. Anomalous basal ganglia, particularly caudate, development appears to play an important role among children presenting with early onset symptoms of ADHD.
- Basal ganglia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health