Studies of healthy individuals and those with cerebellar damage have implicated the cerebellum in a variety of cognitive and behavioral processes. Reduced cerebellar volume has been found in children with ADHD and differentially related to behavioral outcomes. In the current study, we sought to determine if reduced cerebellar vermis volume was present in children with ADHD-Combined type (ADHD-C) compared to controls and whether volume related to parent and teacher reported levels of ADHD symptomatology.
2T MRI images and parent and teacher reported ADHD symptoms were acquired for 32 children diagnosed with ADHD-C and 15 typically-developing controls. Participants were right-handed, had no comorbid diagnoses of learning disabilities, conduct disorder, or affective/mood disorder, and were between the ages of 9 and 15.
Participants with ADHD-C showed significantly reduced volume in the posterior inferior vermis compared to controls. No statistically significant differences were observed for cerebral volume, anterior vermis volume, posterior superior volume, or total cerebellar volume. Regression analyses indicated that a significant amount of the variance in parent-reported BASC-II Hyperactivity and Attention and Conners’ Restless/Impulsive ratings was explained by volume of the posterior inferior vermis.
Consistent with previous studies, children with ADHD had reduced volume in the posterior inferior vermis. New findings emerged with reduced volume of the posterior inferior vermis predicting significant amount of the variance in parent-reported hyperactivity, attention, and restlessness/impulsivity. Thus, symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention in ADHD may be partially explained by reduced volume of the cerebellar vermis and its connections within the cerebrum.