Toward Defining the Neural Substrates of ADHD: A Controlled Structural MRI Study in Medication-Naive Adults

Makris N, Liang L, Biederman J, Valera EM, Brown AB, Petty C, Spencer TJ, Faraone SV, Seidman LJ

J Atten Disord 2013 Nov;

PMID: 24189200


Objective: We assessed the neural correlates of adult ADHD in treatment-naïve participants, an approach necessary for identifying neural substrates unconfounded by medication effects. Method: The sample consisted of 24 medication-naïve adults with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM-IV) diagnosed ADHD and 24 healthy controls, comparable on age, sex, handedness, reading achievement, IQ, and psychiatric comorbidity. All participants were assessed with structured diagnostic interviews. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based regional voxel-based morphometry (r-VBM) was used to assess volumetric differences in a priori defined brain regions of interest. Results: VBM analysis revealed group differences in the hypothesized cortical and subcortical areas; however, only cerebellar volume reductions in ADHD retained significance (p < .05) after corrections for multiple comparisons. Conclusion: These results support the notion that medication-naïve ADHD as expressed in adulthood, manifests subtle brain volume reductions from normal in the cerebellum, and possibly in other syndrome-congruent gray-matter structures. Larger samples are required to confirm these findings. (J. of Att. Dis. XXXX; XX(X) XX-XX).