Smaller prefrontal and premotor volumes in boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Stewart H. Mostofsky, Karen L. Cooper, Wendy R. Kates, Martha B. Denckla, Walter E. Kaufmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

294 Scopus citations


Background: Anatomic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been limited by use of callosal rather than sulcal/gyral landmarks in defining cerebral lobes and functionally relevant sublobar regions (e.g., prefrontal cortex). We present an investigation of cerebral volumes in ADHD using a Talairach-based approach that uses cortical landmarks to define functionally relevant regions. Methods: Volumes were compared between groups of 12 boys with ADHD and 12 age- and gender-matched control subjects, using a series of multiple analyses of variance. Results: Boys with ADHD had (on average) 8.3% smaller total cerebral volumes. Significant reductions in lobar volumes were seen only for the frontal lobes. Within the frontal lobes, a reduction was seen in both gray and white matter volumes, with some evidence suggesting lateralization of these findings: reduction in frontal white matter volume was specific to the left hemisphere; there was a bilateral reduction in frontal gray matter volume but more so in the right hemisphere. Subparcellation of the frontal lobe revealed smaller prefrontal, premotor, and deep white matter volumes. Conclusions: Findings suggest that ADHD is associated with decreased frontal lobe gray and white matter volumes. More than one subdivision of the frontal lobes appears to be reduced in volume, suggesting that the clinical picture of ADHD encompasses dysfunctions attributable to anomalous development of both premotor and prefrontal cortices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-794
Number of pages10
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2002


  • ADHD
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Frontal lobe
  • MRI
  • Prefrontal
  • Premotor
  • Talairach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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