Article

Examining executive functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and typical development.

Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.68). 05/2009; 166(2-3):210-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.02.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Executive functioning (EF) is an overarching term that refers to neuropsychological processes that enable physical, cognitive, and emotional self-control. Deficits in EF are often present in neurodevelopmental disorders, but examinations of the specificity of EF deficits and direct comparisons across disorders are rare. The current study investigated EF in 7- to 12-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and typical development using a comprehensive battery of measures assessing EF, including response inhibition, working memory, cognitive flexibility, planning, fluency and vigilance. The ADHD group exhibited deficits in vigilance, inhibition and working memory relative to the typical group; however, they did not consistently demonstrate problems on the remaining EF measures. Children with ASD showed significant deficits in vigilance compared with the typical group, and significant differences in response inhibition, cognitive flexibility/switching, and working memory compared with both groups. These results lend support for previous findings that show children with autism demonstrate generalized and profound impairment in EF. In addition, the observed deficits in vigilance and inhibitory control suggest that a significant number of children with ASD present with cognitive profiles consistent with ADHD.

2 Followers
 · 
71 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Computerized administration of clinical instruments is not an entirely new phenomenon. The first personal computers were introduced into wide use in the 1970s. Rapid adoption of computer-based testing paralleled this development. By the 1980s, the research literature was replete with considerations of the inherent advantages and limitations of automated assessment of a myriad of clinical domains. In particular, the application of computers to the evaluation of cognition has been widely studied. This body of research has generally fallen into one of two categories: (1) the translation of existing standardized tests to computerized administration and (2) the development of new computer tests and batteries for the assessment of cognitive function. Somewhere between these two categories are approaches that have adapted existing tests in a new way using computer administration. The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) is an example of a battery that has successfully combined standard cognitive test paradigms with novel formats.
    Handbook of Executive Functioning, Edited by S. Goldstein, J.A. Naglieri, 04/2014: chapter Chapter 11: The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery in the Assessment of Executive Functioning; Springer Science+Business Media New York.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies investigated executive functioning (EF) problems in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using laboratory EF tasks. As laboratory task performances often differ from real life observations, the current study focused on EF in everyday life of 118 children and adolescents with ASD (6-18 years). We investigated age-related and individual differences in EF problems as reported by parents on the Behavioral Rating Inventory Executive Functions (BRIEF: Gioia et al. in Behavior rating inventory of executive function. Psychological Assessment Resources, Odesse 2000), and examined the association with autism severity. Inhibition problems were mostly found in the youngest group (6- to 8-year-olds), whereas problems with planning where more evident for 12- to 14-year-olds as compared to 9- to 11-year-olds. In a subsample of participants meeting the ADOS ASD cut-off criteria the age related differences in planning were absent, while problems with cognitive flexibility were less apparent in 15- to 18-year-olds, compared to 9- to 11-, and 12- to 14-year olds. EF problems surpassing the clinical cutoff were only observed in 20 % (planning) to 51 % (cognitive flexibility) of the children and adolescents, and no relation was found with ASD symptom severity. This underlines the heterogeneous nature of ASD.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 02/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10803-014-2071-4 · 3.06 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share brain function abnormalities during cognitive flexibility. Serotonin is involved in both disorders, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can modulate cognitive flexibility and improve behavior in both disorders. Thus, this study investigates shared and disorder-specific brain dysfunctions in these 2 disorders during reward reversal, and the acute effects of an SSRI on these. Age-matched boys with ADHD (15), ASD (18), and controls (21) were compared with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a reversal task. Patients were scanned twice, under either an acute dose of Fluoxetine or placebo in a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized design. Repeated-measures analyses within patients assessed drug effects. Patients under each drug condition were compared with controls to assess normalization effects. fMRI data showed that, under placebo, ASD boys underactivated medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), compared with control and ADHD boys. Both patient groups shared decreased precuneus activation. Under Fluoxetine, mPFC activation was up-regulated and normalized in ASD boys relative to controls, but down-regulated in ADHD boys relative to placebo, which was concomitant with worse task performance in ADHD. Fluoxetine therefore has inverse effects on mPFC activation in ASD and ADHD during reversal learning, suggesting dissociated underlying serotonin abnormalities.
    Cerebral Cortex 01/2014; 25(7). DOI:10.1093/cercor/bht365 · 8.31 Impact Factor