Resting state brain oscillations and symptom profiles in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder



Publication Details

Barry, R. J. & Clarke, A. R. (2013). Resting state brain oscillations and symptom profiles in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Supplements to Clinical Neurophysiology, 62 (2013), 275-287.


Our perspective on resting-state electroencephalogram (EEG) is that it provides a window into the substrate of cognitive and perceptual processing, reflecting the dynamic potential of the brain's current functional state. In an extended research program into the electrophysiology of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), we have examined resting-state EEG power and coherence, and event-related potentials (ERPs), in children, adolescents, and adults with the disorder. We sought initially to identify consistent AD/HD anomalies in these measures, relative to normal control subjects, and then to understand how these differences related to existing models of AD/HD. An emergent strand in this program has been to clarify the EEG correlates of "arousal" and to understand the role of arousal dysfunction as a core anomaly in AD/HD. To date, findings in this strand serve to rule out a commonly held dictum in the AD/HD field: that elevated theta/beta ratio is an indicator of hypo-arousal. In turn, this requires further work to elucidate the ratio's functional significance in the disorder. Our brain dynamics studies relating prestimulus EEG amplitude and phase states to ERP outcomes are expected to help in this regard, but we are still at a relatively early stage, currently examining these relationships in control children, in order to better understand normal aspects of brain dynamics before turning to children with AD/HD. This range of studies provides a framework for our recent work relating resting-state EEG anomalies, in individuals with AD/HD, to their symptom profile. This has had promising results, indicating links between increased inattention scores and reduced resting EEG gamma power. With resting-state EEG coherence, reduced left lateralized coherences across several bands have correlated negatively with inattention scores, while reduced frontal interhemispheric coherence has been correlated negatively with hyperactivity/impulsivity scores. Such linkages appear to provide encouraging leads for future EEG research in AD/HD.

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