A systematic review and meta-analysis of tract-based spatial statistics studies regarding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

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Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies that use tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) have demonstrated the microstructural abnormalities of white matter (WM) in patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); however, robust conclusions have not yet been drawn. The present study integrated the findings of previous TBSS studies to determine the most consistent WM alterations in ADHD via a narrative review and meta-analysis. The literature search was conducted through October 2015 to identify TBSS studies that compared fractional anisotropy (FA) between ADHD patients and healthy controls. FA reductions were identified in the splenium of the corpus callosum (CC) that extended to the right cingulum, right sagittal stratum, and left tapetum. The first two clusters retained significance in the sensitivity analysis and in all subgroup analyses. The FA reduction in the CC splenium was negatively associated with the mean age of the ADHD group. We hypothesize that, in addition to the fronto-striatal-cerebellar circuit, the disturbed WM matter tracts that integrate the bilateral hemispheres and posterior-brain circuitries play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of ADHD.

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