Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 568–578

Neuroimaging of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Current Neuroscience-Informed Perspectives for Clinicians

Attention-Deficit Disorder (R Bussing, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-012-0310-y

Cite this article as:
Cortese, S. & Castellanos, F.X. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2012) 14: 568. doi:10.1007/s11920-012-0310-y


The neuroimaging literature on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is growing rapidly. Here, we provide a critical overview of neuroimaging studies published recently, highlighting perspectives that may be of relevance for clinicians. After a comprehensive search of PubMed, Ovid, Web of Science, and EMBASE, we located 41 pertinent papers published between January 2011 and April 2012, comprising both structural and functional neuroimaging studies. This literature is increasingly contributing to the notion that the pathophysiology of ADHD reflects abnormal interplay among large-scale brain circuits. Moreover, recent studies have begun to reveal the mechanisms of action of pharmacological treatment. Finally, imaging studies with a developmental perspective are revealing the brain correlates of ADHD over the lifespan, complementing clinical observations on the phenotypic continuity and discontinuity of the disorder. However, despite the increasing potential to eventually inform clinical practice, current imaging studies do not have validated applications in day-to-day clinical practice. Although novel analytical techniques are likely to accelerate the pace of translational applications, at the present we advise caution regarding inappropriate commercial misuse of imaging techniques in ADHD.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ADHD Neuroscience Neuroimaging MRI Treatment Pathophysiologic mechanisms Emotional reactivity Emotional processing 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Phyllis Green and Randolph Cowen Institute for Pediatric NeuroscienceChild Study Center of the NYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, G. B. Rossi Hospital, Department of Life Science and ReproductionVerona UniversityVeronaItaly
  3. 3.UMR_S INSERM U 930, ERL 3106, François-Rabelais University, Child Psychiatry CentreUniversity HospitalToursFrance
  4. 4.Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric ResearchOrangeburgUSA

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