EEG and electrodermal activity in girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Objective This study investigated the Hypoarousal Model of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) in girls. Methods 40 girls with AD/HD and 40 girl controls (aged 7-12 years) had an eyes-closed resting EEG recorded from 19 electrodes and Fourier transformed. Estimates for total power, absolute and relative power in the delta, theta, alpha, beta and gamma frequency bands, and theta/beta ratio were analysed in nine cortical regions. Skin conductance level (SCL) was simultaneously recorded. Regression analyses explored relationships between symptoms and physiology. Results Compared with controls, girls with AD/HD had globally elevated relative delta, globally reduced absolute beta, and globally reduced absolute and relative gamma activity. Girls with AD/HD also had lower mean SCL. Inattentive symptoms were predicted by elevated frontal relative delta, reduced SCL, and reduced temporal relative gamma activity, while elevated hyperactive-impulsive symptoms correlated with elevated frontal relative delta activity in both the patient and control groups. Conclusions These EEG results are comparable with the limited female AD/HD literature. Girls with AD/HD are hypoaroused, indicated by reduced SCL, and appear to have an anomalous arousal mechanism. Absolute and relative gamma results are similar to previous findings in AD/HD children. Symptom correlations with physiology offer intriguing insights for future research. Significance This is the first study to examine CNS arousal exclusively in girls with AD/HD.
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