Excessive hemodynamic activity in the superior frontal cortex during the flanker task in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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Abstract

Near-infrared spectroscopy studies in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have shown excessive prefrontal activity responsible for coping with interference. However, it is possible that the previous results were influenced by verbal, reading, and memory developments. The flanker task is an interference task that does not require a verbal response, reading, or memorization. We examined activity in the superior frontal cortex (SFC) during the flanker task in 12 children with ADHD and 14 children with typical development using near-infrared spectroscopy. SFC activity was significantly greater in children with ADHD than in those with typical development. The results showed excessive interference coping activity in children with ADHD irrespective of verbal, reading, and memory development. Moreover, SFC activity was positively correlated with the inattention subscale score of the ADHD rating scale. We suggest that children with ADHD need greater SFC activation to cope with interference, and the inefficient mechanism is demanding and hard to sustain, which causes inattention symptoms of children with ADHD.

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