Early observations from lesion studies suggested right hemisphere (RH) dysfunction in ADHD. However, a strictly right-lateralized deficit has not been well supported. An alternatively view suggests increased R>L asymmetry of brain function and abnormal interhemispehric interaction. If true, RH pathology in ADHD should reflect interhemispherically networked and over-activated functioning. We evaluated these assertions.
Four elements of lateralized brain function were measured: LH specialized, RH specialized, LH with interhemispheric processing (LH/IH), and RH with interhemispheric processing (RH/IH). Next, we tested their association with cognitive ability, psychiatric comorbidity, and sibling correlations in 79 children with ADHD.
RH/IH processing was uniquely associated with other outcome measures. There were no associations for independent RH or LH function alone.
Interhemispherically networked RH processing is critical in ADHD. Additionally, lack of association between LH specialized processing and cognitive ability (especially for verbal cognitive tasks) supports increased RH mediation of task processing.