Differential brain activations in adult attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder subtypes: a counting Stroop functional MRI study

Original Research


Although previous functional neuroimaging studies have found abnormal brain activations in individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), little was known about distinct brain dysfunctions across different ADHD subtypes. The objective of the present study was to investigate the abnormal brain activations associated with two ADHD subtypes, predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI) and combined (ADHD-C) subtypes. Twenty-five adults with ADHD-PI, 25 with ADHD-C, and 30 healthy controls (HC) participated in this study. The brain function of the participants were assessed by using the counting Stroop task inside the scanner and the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test (CCPT) outside the scanner. The HC group showed greater activations in the caudate nucleus and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) than the ADHD-PI and ADHD-C groups. The ADHD-PI group showed greater activations in the superior parietal lobule (SPL) than the ADHD-C group. In all participants with ADHD, we found negative correlations of activation in the left caudate and the left IFG with the standard deviation of the reaction time of the CCPT, and negative correlations of activation in the left SPL with the reaction time changes across different inter-stimulus intervals. Our results demonstrated altered brain activity in the frontostriatal networks of adults with ADHD-PI and the fronto-striato-parietal networks of adults with ADHD-C. Abnormalities in the parietal areas may represent the main difference between the ADHD-PI and ADHD-C subtypes.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Conners’ continuous performance test Functional brain imaging Counting Stroop task Subtype 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryNational Taiwan University Hospital and College of MedicineTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Graduate Institute of Brain and Mind SciencesNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, Beitou Branch, Tri-Service General HospitalNational Defense Medical CenterTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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