Scientific article

EEG anomalies in adult ADHD subjects performing a working memory task

Published inNeuroscience, vol. 241, p. 135-146
Publication date2013

Functional imaging studies have revealed differential brain activation patterns in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) adult patients performing working memory (WM) tasks. The existence of alterations in WM-related cortical circuits during childhood may precede executive dysfunctions in this disorder in adults. To date, there is no study exploring the electrophysiological activation of WM-related neural networks in ADHD. To address this issue, we carried out an electroencephalographic (EEG) activation study associated with time-frequency (TF) analysis in 15 adults with ADHD and 15 controls performing two visual N-back WM tasks, as well as oddball detection and passive fixation tasks. Frontal transient (phasic) theta event-related synchronization (ERS, 0-500 msec) was significantly reduced in ADHD as compared to control subjects. Such reduction was equally present in a task-independent manner. In contrast, the power of the later sustained (∼500-1200 msec) theta ERS for all tasks was comparable in ADHD and control groups. In active WM tasks, ADHD patients displayed lower alpha event-related desynchronization (ERD, ∼200-900 msec) and higher subsequent alpha ERS (∼900-2400 msec) compared to controls. The time course of alpha ERD/ERS cycle was modified in ADHD patients compared to controls, suggesting that they are able to use late compensatory mechanisms in order to perform this WM task. These findings support the idea of an ADHD-related dysfunction of neural generators sub-serving attention directed to the incoming visual information. ADHD cases may successfully face WM needs depending on the preservation of sustained theta ERS and prolonged increase of alpha ERS at later post-stimulus time points.

  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 103770
  • Autre - Research and Development Hospital 02-1-122
Citation (ISO format)
MISSONNIER, Pascal et al. EEG anomalies in adult ADHD subjects performing a working memory task. In: Neuroscience, 2013, vol. 241, p. 135–146. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.03.011
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0306-4522

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