Childhood-Diagnosed ADHD, Symptom Progression, and Reversal Learning in Adulthood

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McCarthy, Hazel ; Stanley, Jessica ; Piech, Richard M. ; Skokauskas, Norbert ; Mulligan, Aisling ; Donohoe, Gary ; Mullins, Diane ; Kelly, John ; Johnson, Katherine ; Fagan, Andrew ; Gill, Michael ; Meaney, James ; Frodl, Thomas (2016)
  • Publisher: Sage
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1177/1087054716661233
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: behavioral disciplines and activities | mental disorders

Objective: ADHD persists in up to 60% into adulthood, and the reasons for persistence are not fully understood. The objective of this study was to characterize the neurofunctional basis of decision making in those with a childhood diagnosis of ADHD with either persistent or remitted symptoms in adulthood versus healthy control participants. Method: Thirty-two adults diagnosed with ADHD as children were split into persistent (n = 18) or remitted (n = 14) ADHD groups. Their neural activity and neurofunctional connectivity during a probabilistic reversal learning task were compared with 32 healthy controls. Results: Remitters showed significantly higher neural connectivity in final reversal error and probabilistic error conditions, and persisters depict higher neural connectivity in reversal errors than controls at a family-wise error (FWE) corrected whole-brain corrected threshold. Conclusion: Remitters may have utilized higher neural connectivity than controls to make successful decisions. Also, remitters may have utilized compensatory strategies to override any potential underlying ADHD deficits.
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