Brain Res 2012 Mar 24;1445:82-91. Epub 2012 Jan 24.
Department of Diagnostic Imaging, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario Canada.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is common in children and frequently persists into adulthood. While ADHD is characterized by developmentally inappropriate, persistent and impairing levels of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity, it is also associated with sensorimotor deficits and altered neural processing of somatosensory stimuli, as well as with executive function deficits. The latter are associated with thinning of frontal lobe structures in ADHD; however, few structural neuroimaging studies have focused on changes in brain morphology in sensorimotor regions in this population. Moreover, little is known about morphological changes that occur in these regions throughout the developmental trajectory into adulthood. In this preliminary cross-sectional study, we examined cortical thickness with a focus on brain regions involved in sensorimotor processing in adolescents and adults with ADHD compared to neurotypical cohorts. Compared to controls, adolescents with ADHD showed significant increased cortical thickness in the pre-supplementary motor area (SMA) and adults with ADHD showed increased thickness in the primary somatosensory cortex (SI). Based on these differences, we collated the data from the adolescents and adults and examined possible age×group interaction effects on cortical thickness. A significant interaction effect was found in SI where healthy participants showed decreased thickness in this region at older ages, whereas the ADHD cohort showed little change. Results suggest that sensorimotor brain regions are altered in ADHD and these changes may not dissipate in adolescence, but rather persist into adulthood.