EEG development in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: From child to adult



Publication Details

Clarke, A. R., Barry, R. J., Johnstone, S. J., McCarthy, R. & Selikowitz, M. (2019). EEG development in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: From child to adult. Clinical Neurophysiology, 130 (8), 1256-1262.


Objective: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders found in children. While an extensive literature has documented the EEG in this clinical population, few studies have investigated EEG throughout the lifespan in ADHD. This study aimed to investigate EEG maturational changes, in subjects with ADHD combined type, that spanned from childhood into adulthood.

Method: Twenty five male adults with ADHD were assessed between the ages of 8-12 years and again as adults. At both ages, an EEG was recorded during an eyes-closed resting period, and power estimates were calculated for relative delta, theta, alpha and beta.

Results: At the childhood assessment, the ADHD subjects had elevated posterior delta. Relative theta was elevated, with diminished alpha activity across all sites. Significant maturational changes were observed, with reductions in the delta and theta bands, and increases in the alpha and beta bands across all electrodes. In adulthood, relative to controls, diminished frontal delta and elevated global theta activity were apparent.

Conclusions: Substantial developmental changes occurred in the EEG of these subjects. These results identify important issues when using EEG as part of the diagnosis for ADHD. Significance: This study is the first to explore EEG changes from childhood to adulthood over an 11 year period in the same subjects with ADHD.

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