Structural brain abnormalities in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Child Neuropsychology Section, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Hospital Aachen, Germany.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 01/2008; 48(12):1251-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01799.x
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Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are two distinct neurodevelopmental diseases, they share behavioural, neuropsychological and neurobiological characteristics. For the identification of endophenotypes across diagnostic categories, further investigations of phenotypic overlap between ADHD and autism at the behavioural, neurocognitive, and brain levels are needed.
We examined regional grey matter differences and similarities in children and adolescents with ASD and ADHD in comparison to healthy controls using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and voxel-based morphometry.
With regard to clinical criteria, the clinical groups did not differ with respect to ADHD symptoms; however, only patients with ASD showed deficits in social communication and interaction, according to parental rating. Structural abnormalities across both clinical groups compared to controls became evident as grey matter reductions in the left medial temporal lobe and as higher grey matter volumes in the left inferior parietal cortex. In addition, autism-specific brain abnormalities were found as increased grey matter volume in the right supramarginal gyrus.
While the shared structural deviations in the medial temporal lobe might be attributed to an unspecific delay in brain development and might be associated with memory deficits, the structural abnormalities in the inferior parietal lobe may correspond to attentional deficits observed in both ASD and ADHD. By contrast, the autism-specific grey matter abnormalities near the right temporo-parietal junction may be associated with impaired 'theory of mind' abilities. These findings shed some light on both similarities and differences in the neurocognitive profiles of ADHD and ASD patients.

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    • "Specifically, greater EC abilities are associated with larger volumes of the left orbitofrontal cortex in healthy early adolescents (Whittle et al., 2008). Furthermore, adolescents with ADHD exhibit increased gray matter (GM) volumes in the left inferior parietal lobule (Brieber et al., 2007). Adults with deficits in attention (e.g., ADHD) exhibit decreased cortical thicknesses in the prefrontal, lateral IPL, and cingulate cortices (Rommelse et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Structural MRI studies have identified a link between cortical maturation and temperamental effortful control (EC), which is a trait-like risk factor for psychopathology during adolescence. However, little research has explored the underlying neural basis of EC in adults. We aimed to examine the relationship between EC and brain structure in young adults. High-resolution T1-weighted images were acquired from 27 undergraduates who completed the Adult Temperament Questionnaire-short form. The data were analyzed with SPM8 using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). A priori region of interest (ROI) analyses indicated that EC was positively associated with gray matter volumes in brain regions that included the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the left supplementary motor area, the right orbitofrontal cortex, the left anterior cingulate cortex, and the left superior and inferior parietal lobes. These results suggest that temperamental EC in young adults is related to variations in gray matter volumes, particularly within the frontoparietal attention network, and yield insight into the relation between the vulnerability to psychopathology and the neurobiological basis of individual differences in temperamental EC. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 05/2015; 233(1). DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.04.009 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    • "shows unique structural deviations [Brieber et al., 2007] and abnormal activity in ASD. For example, the fusiform gyrus exhibits dramatically reduced activity when people with ASD process faces of strangers [Pierce, Müller, Ambrose, Allen, & Courchesne, 2001], whereas familiarity with social partners may result in a more neuro-typical response in the temporal area of the " social brain " [Pierce et al., 2004]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Electroencephalogram coherence was measured in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and control children at baseline and while watching videos of a familiar and unfamiliar person reading a story. Coherence was measured between the left and right hemispheres of the frontal, parietal, and temporal-parietal lobes (interhemispheric) and between the frontal and parietal lobes in each hemisphere (intrahemispheric). A data-reduction technique was employed to identify the frequency (alpha) that yielded significant differences in video conditions. Children with ASD displayed reduced coherence at the alpha frequency between the left and right temporal-parietal lobes in all conditions and reduced coherence at the alpha frequency between left and right frontal lobes during baseline. No group differences in intrahemispheric coherence at the alpha frequency emerged at the chosen statistical threshold. Results suggest decreased interhemispheric connectivity in frontal and temporal-parietal regions in children with ASD compared to controls. Autism Res 2014, ●●: ●●–●●. © 2014 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Autism Research 06/2014; 7(3). DOI:10.1002/aur.1367 · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    • "Decreased FC in the inferior frontal gyri could play a part in the motor inhibition difficulties associated with ADHD ( Cao et al., 2006 ; Zang et al., 2007 ), which is further supported by previous task-related fMRI studies ( Booth et al., 2005 ; Durston et al., 2006 ; Liakakis et al., 2011 ). Previous imaging research has reported reduced grey matter volume of the left insular cortex in children with ADHD ( Brieber et al., 2007 ). Further, increased cortical thickness ( Duerden et al., 2012 ) and increased activity during an fMRI-based attention–reorientation task ( Konrad et al., 2006 ) have been reported in the right insular cortex. "
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    ABSTRACT: Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are prevalent childhood disorders that frequently co-occur. Evidence from neuroimaging research suggests that children with these disorders exhibit disruptions in motor circuitry, which could account for the high rate of co-occurrence. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the functional connections of the motor network in children with DCD and/or ADHD compared to typically developing controls, with the aim of identifying common neurophysiological substrates. Resting-state fMRI was performed on seven children with DCD, 21 with ADHD, 18 with DCD + ADHD and 23 controls. Resting-state connectivity of the primary motor cortex was compared between each group and controls, using age as a co-factor. Relative to controls, children with DCD and/or ADHD exhibited similar reductions in functional connectivity between the primary motor cortex and the bilateral inferior frontal gyri, right supramarginal gyrus, angular gyri, insular cortices, amygdala, putamen, and pallidum. In addition, children with DCD and/or ADHD exhibited different age-related patterns of connectivity, compared to controls. These findings suggest that children with DCD and/or ADHD exhibit disruptions in motor circuitry, which may contribute to problems with motor functioning and attention. Our results support the existence of common neurophysiological substrates underlying both motor and attention problems.
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