Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder; however, the mechanisms underlying attention problems in individuals with the disorder are unclear. Prominent neurobiological models hypothesize that task-negative regions of the brain (i.e., default-mode network) are not adequately suppressed during task performance which culminate in increased reaction time variability (i.e., attentional lapse model). Recent evidence, however, indicates that increased reaction time variability can reflect both the failure to recruit task-positive (i.e., dorsal attention network [DAN]) regions of the brain as well as inadequate suppression of task-negative regions (i.e., default-mode network [DMN]) ? a possibility that has not been examined in children with ADHD. The current proposal seeks to evaluate the utility of a novel approach to isolating the unique contribution of DAN and DMN to reaction time variability in children with ADHD. Specifically, our aims are 1) to examine RTV related activations in the DAN and DMN in children with ADHD, 2) to compare the RTV related activations in DAN and DMN between children with and without ADHD, and 3) examine the mediating effect of brain network activity (DAN, DMN) on the relation between RTV and behavioral symptoms of the disorder (i.e., inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity) in children with ADHD and whether these relationships are moderated by distinct neurobiologically impaired subgroups of children with ADHD (i.e., DAN impaired, DMN impaired). This proposal attempts to synthesize neurobiological and behavioral data to further explicate the mechanisms underlying attention problems in children with ADHD. These findings will likely have important implications for the refinement of existing interventions based on distinct neurodevelopmental profiles and will lay the foundation for incorporating multiple levels of analysis (i.e., neurobiological, neurocognitive, behavioral) into a precision medicine approach to treatment of the disorder.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed investigation is an attempt to more fully elucidate the underlying neurobiological mechanisms that account for the ?attention? deficit in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Specifically, the proposal seeks to investigate whether increased reaction time variability is a) primarily attributable to failure of children with the disorder to effectively recruit brain regions associated with external attentional control (i.e., dorsal attentional network), b) an inability to sufficiently suppress brain networks associated with internal attentional control (i.e., default mode network) or c) varying degrees of both processes. By bridging neurobiological processes with the behavioral symptoms of the disorder (e.g., inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity), these findings will lay the foundation for incorporating multiple levels of analysis (e.g., neuroimaging) into a precision medicine framework to better optimize treatment outcomes for individuals impacted by ADHD.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities Study Section (CPDD)
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Pacheco, Jenni
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Florida International University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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