Using brain-based cognitive measures to support clinical decisions in ADHD

Leanne Williams, D. Hermans, Thida Thein, Christopher Clark, Nicholas Cooper, Simon Clarke, Christopher Lamb, Evian Gordon, Michael Kohn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    67 Citations (Scopus)


    Measures of cognition support diagnostic and treatment decisions in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. We used an integrative neuroscience framework to assess cognition and associated brain-function correlates in large attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and healthy groups. Matched groups of 175 attention deficit hyperactivity disorder children/adolescents and 175 healthy control subjects were assessed clinically, with the touch screen-based cognitive assessment battery "IntegNeuro" (Brain Resource Ltd., Sydney, Australia) and the "LabNeuro" (Brain Resource Ltd., Sydney, Australia) platform for psychophysiologic recordings of brain function and body arousal. IntegNeuro continuous performance task measures of sustained attention classified 68% of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder patients with 76% specificity, consistent with previous reports. Our additional cognitive measures of impulsivity, intrusive errors, inhibition, and response variability improved sensitivity to 88%, and specificity to 91%. Positive predictive power was 96%, and negative predictive power, 88%. These metrics were stable across attention deficit hyperactivity disorder subtypes and age. Consistent with their brain-based validity, cognitive measures were correlated with corresponding brain-function and body-arousal measures. We propose a combination of candidate cognitive "markers" that define a signature for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: "sustained attention," "impulsivity," "inhibition," "intrusions," and "response variability." These markers offer a frame of reference to support diagnostic and treatment decisions, and an objective benchmark for monitoring outcomes of interventions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)118-126
    Number of pages9
    JournalPediatric Neurology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


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