Cerebral Hemodynamic Changes in Response to an Executive Function Task in Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Measured by Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the hemodynamic changes in both prefrontal regions induced by a cognitive task in children with a developmental attention-deficit disorder in comparison to normal controls using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). A total of 11 boys with a mean age of 10.4 (±1.2) years that met the DSM-IV criteria for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) participated in the study and were compared with 9 healthy age- and sex-matched controls. Using a trail-making test designed for the task of connecting numbers from 1 - 90 in four sets, changes in oxygenated (O2Hb) and deoxygenated (HHb) hemoglobin, tissue oxygenation index (TOI), and cerebral blood volume (CBV) were measured by near-infrared spectroscopy. During the first test set, designed as a short-attention task, the children with ADHD showed significant increases in O2Hb and CBV, whereas the controls showed no significant changes. During the 4 task cycles in which extended attention was demanded, both groups showed increases in O2Hb and CBV, but only the controls showed an additional increase in HHb in the left prefrontal region. In the ADHD group only, TOI showed an increase mainly on the left side. NIRS is a sensitive tool for measuring differences in hemodynamic changes between boys with ADHD and normal controls. Overall, the normal controls showed lateralized oxygen consumption in the left prefrontal cortex during an extended-attention task, whereas the boys with ADHD showed an imbalance between oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin during the short- and extended-attention tasks.

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