ADHD symptoms are associated with the modular structure of intrinsic brain networks in a representative sample of healthy adults

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders with significant and often lifelong effects on social, emotional, and cognitive functioning. Influential neurocognitive models of ADHD link behavioral symptoms to altered connections between and within functional brain networks. Here, we investigate whether network-based theories of ADHD can be generalized to understanding variations in ADHD-related behaviors within the normal (i.e., clinically unaffected) adult population. In a large and representative sample, self-rated presence of ADHD symptoms varied widely; only eight out of 291 participants scored in the clinical range. Subject-specific brain-network graphs were modeled from functional MRI resting-state data and revealed significant associations between (non-clinical) ADHD symptoms and region-specific profiles of between-module and within-module connectivity. Effects were located in brain regions associated with multiple neuronal systems including the default-mode network, the salience network, and the central executive system. Our results are consistent with network perspectives of ADHD and provide further evidence for the relevance of an appropriate information transfer between task-negative (default-mode) and task-positive brain regions. More generally, our findings support a dimensional conceptualization of ADHD and contribute to a growing understanding of cognition as an emerging property of functional brain networks.

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Author:Kirsten Hilger, Christian Fiebach
Parent Title (English):Network neuroscience
Publisher:The MIT Press
Place of publication:Cambridge, MA
Contributor(s):Caterina Gratton
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Date of first Publication:2019/05/02
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/05/06
Tag:ADHD; Brain networks; Graph theory; Modularity; Nonclinical; Symptom strength
Page Number:22
First Page:567
Last Page:588
Preprint erschienen in: bioRxiv beta, 2019, doi:10.1101/505891
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For a full description of the license, please visit
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0