Posner J, Rauh V, Gruber A, Gat I, Wang Z, Peterson BS
Psychiatry Res 2013 Jul;213(1):24-30
Current neurocognitive models of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest that neural circuits involving both attentional and affective processing make independent contributions to the phenomenology of the disorder. However, a clear dissociation of attentional and affective circuits and their behavioral correlates has yet to be shown in medication-naïve children with ADHD. Using resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) in a cohort of medication naïve children with (N=22) and without (N=20) ADHD, we demonstrate that children with ADHD have reduced connectivity in two neural circuits: one underlying executive attention (EA) and the other emotional regulation (ER). We also demonstrate a double dissociation between these two neural circuits and their behavioral correlates such that reduced connectivity in the EA circuit correlates with executive attention deficits but not with emotional lability, while on the other hand, reduced connectivity in the ER circuit correlates with emotional lability but not with executive attention deficits. These findings suggest potential avenues for future research such as examining treatment effects on these two neural circuits as well as the potential prognostic and developmental significance of disturbances in one circuit vs the other.