Examining executive functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and typical development. Psychiatry Research, 166, 210-222

Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 05/2009; 166(2-3):210-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.02.005
Source: PubMed


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.

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Available from: Blythe A Corbett, Oct 10, 2015
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    • "According to Lezak (1982, p.281), executive function refers to " mental capacities necessary for formulating goals, planning how to achieve them, and carrying out the plans effectively " . Individuals with developmental disorders also have problems with executive functions (Corbett et al. 2009; Pennington and Ozonoff 1996), and executive function as a whole predicts IQ (Brydges et al. 2012), although not all executive tasks are related to IQ (Friedman et al. 2006). Furthermore, Gathercole et al. (2008) suggest that working memory, part of executive function, plays a more significant role in typical classroom activities than IQ. "
    12/2015; 5(1). DOI:10.1186/s13616-015-0022-9
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    • "Accumulating evidence suggests that ASD patients have significantly lower peripheral oxytocin (OXT) levels relative to healthy counterparts, and that the repetitive behavior in ASD is related to abnormalities in the OXT system, abnormalities which can be partially ameliorated by synthetic oxytocin infusion (Modahl et al., 1998; Hollander et al., 2003, 2007). ADHD and ASD are highly comorbid and both disorders share executive function deficits (Willcutt et al., 2005, Corbett et al., 2009; Rommelse et al., 2011), including poor cognitive flexibility (Hill, 2004; Willcutt et al., 2005; Sanders et al., 2008), which has been linked to repetitive behavior in ASD (Yerys et al., 2009). The clinical importance of this behavioral and cognitive overlap has been highlighted by changes to the DSM-5, which now allows co-diagnosis of ADHD and ASD (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are highly comorbid, and both disorders share executive function deficits. Accumulating evidence suggests that ASD patients have significantly lower peripheral oxytocin (OXT) levels compared with their normal counterparts, and that the repetitive behavior seen in ASD is related to abnormalities in the OXT system. In this study, we investigated whether serum levels of OXT are altered in pediatric patients with ADHD. We measured serum OXT levels: drug naive ADHD (n=23), medicated ADHD (n=13), and age- and sex- matched, neurotypical controls (n=22). Patients were evaluated using the ADHD-RS. Serum levels of OXT in total subjects with ADHD were significantly decreased compared with those of neurotypical controls, and serum levels of OXT in drug naive ADHD patients were significantly lower than those in medicated ADHD patients. Interestingly, there was a significant negative correlation between serum OXT levels and ADHD-RS total scores, as well as ADHD-RS inattentive scores in all ADHD patients. In conclusion, this study suggests that decreased levels of OXT may play a role in the pathophysiology of patients with ADHD and its inherent inattentiveness. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.. All rights reserved.
    06/2015; 107(3). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2015.05.029
    • "(South et al., 2007; Smith et al., 2013), and this is supported by the fact that deficits in EF are very often seen in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders, including ASD and ADHD. Several studies have proposed that the symptoms of ADHD mainly arise from a primary deficit in a specific EF domain such as response inhibition (Corbett et al., 2009) or working memory (Willcutt et al., 2005), while the symptoms of ASD arise from a primary deficit in planning and flexibility (Sinzig et al., 2008). Therefore, a specific deficit in EF might lead to a characteristic pattern of behavioral symptoms and cognitive features in individuals with both disorders, although we have to consider any shared neurological basis between ASD and ADHD. "
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    ABSTRACT: Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share many common symptoms, including attention deficit, behavioral problems, and difficulties with social skills. The aim of this study is to distinguish between ASD and ADHD by identifying the characteristic features of both the disorders, by using multidimensional assessments, including screening behavioral checklists, cognitive assessments, and comprehensive neurological battery. After screening for comorbid disorders, we carefully selected age-, sex-, IQ-, and socio-economic status-matched children with typical development (TD). In the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for children, a lower score was observed for the ASD group than for the TD group in Picture Concept, which is a subscale of Perceptual Reasoning. A lower score was shown by the ADHD group than by the TD group in the spatial working memory test in the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB®). Although ASD and ADHD have many similar symptoms, they can be differentiated by focusing on the behavioral and cognitive characteristics of executive function.
    Asian Journal of Psychiatry 07/2014; 12(1). DOI:10.1016/j.ajp.2014.06.011
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