Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent disorders in children and adolescence. Impulsivity is one of three core symptoms and likely associated with inhibition difficulties. To date the neural correlate of the antisaccade task, a test of response inhibition, has not been studied in children with (or without) ADHD.
Antisaccade responses to visual and acoustic cues were examined in nine unmedicated boys with ADHD (mean age 122.44 ± 20.81 months) and 14 healthy control children (mean age 115.64 ± 22.87 months, three girls) while an electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded. Brain activity before saccade onset was reconstructed using a 23-source-montage.
When cues were acoustic, children with ADHD had a higher source activity than control children in Medio-Frontal Cortex (MFC) between -230 and -120 ms and in the left-hemispheric Temporal Anterior Cortex (TAC) between -112 and 0 ms before saccade onset, despite both groups performing similarly behaviourally (antisaccades errors and saccade latency). When visual cues were used EEG-activity preceding antisaccades did not differ between groups.
Children with ADHD exhibit altered functioning of the TAC and MFC during an antisaccade task elicited by acoustic cues. Children with ADHD need more source activation to reach the same behavioural level as control children.