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Subcortical Volume and Executive Functions in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • Author / Creator
    Hai, Tasmia M.
  • Background. The subcortical regions, including the caudate and putamen, have been historically implicated in pediatric Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Along with differences in subcortical regions, children with ADHD generally show weaker executive function (EF). However, previous studies have not investigated the relationship between the caudate and putamen volume with EF. The current study investigated the clinical relevance of the caudate and putamen with respect to EF as measured through cognitive performance-based tasks and parent ratings of EF.
    Method. Twenty-four children with ADHD (M =11.64; males =12) and 25 typically developing children (TDC; M = 11.09 years; males =14) underwent a high-resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) T1-weighted sequence. FreeSurfer 6.0 was used for subcortical volume reconstruction. Children with ADHD completed EF tasks related to working memory and inhibition. Parents completed behaviour rating scales measuring executive function (BRIEF-2). Data were analyzed using Multivariate Analysis of Variance, Multivariate Analysis of Covariance, Pearson correlations and linear regressions.
    Results. Parents of children with ADHD reported significantly more EF challenges on the BRIEF-2 compared to the TDC group, F (5,43) = 20.89, p <.001, partial eta square =.71). No significant group difference was observed on the Working Memory (F (2, 46) = 1.38, p =.26, partial eta squared = .06) or on the Response Inhibition task (F (4, 39) = 2.48, p =.06, partial eta squared = .20) performance between the ADHD and TDC groups. Similarly, the results showed no significant group differences in the volumes of the right and left caudate and putamen, F (4,41) = .79, p >.05, partial eta square =.07). However, negative correlations were observed between right caudate volume and parent ratings of emotion regulation (r = -.51, p =.010) in the ADHD group. Linear Regression model suggested that 26.3% of the variance in emotion regulation in the ADHD group was accounted for by the right caudate volume.
    Discussion. Our study showed significant EF difficulties based on parent ratings but not on performance-based tasks. No volumetric difference was observed in the caudate or the putamen between children with ADHD and the TDC group. Right caudate was related to parent ratings of EF in pediatric ADHD participants indicating the possibility of a brain-behaviour relation. These findings have implications for future treatment options in the identified subgroup of children with ADHD.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-qw83-qg41
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.