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Very low frequency EEG oscillations and the resting brain in young adults: a preliminary study of localisation, stability and association with symptoms of inattention


Background. Spontaneous very low frequency oscillations (VLFO: <0.2 Hz) in functional magnetic-resonance imaging are proposed to identify a default-mode network of resting brain activity. Activity in this network has been related to lapses of attention during goal-directed tasks and may provide a basis for ADHD. This study assessed the relation between scalp-recorded EEG VLFO at rest and ADHD.

Methods. 13 young adults with high- and 11 with low self-ratings of ADHD participated. Direct current EEG was recorded during a five minute rest session and was retested after approximately 1 week.

Results. A consistent and temporally stable pattern of VLFOs was observed across specific scalp regions in low-ADHD participants. High-ADHD participants had less VLFO power across these locations, especially where inattention self-ratings were high. Inattention was not related to VLFO power in other locations.

Discussion. Initial evidence is provided for a pattern of VLFOs at rest which is associated with inattention symptoms.

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Correspondence to E. J. S. Sonuga-Barke.

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Correspondence: Edmund J. S. Sonuga-Barke, Institute for Disorder on Impulse and Attention, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK

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Helps, S., James, C., Debener, S. et al. Very low frequency EEG oscillations and the resting brain in young adults: a preliminary study of localisation, stability and association with symptoms of inattention. J Neural Transm 115, 279–285 (2008).

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  • Keywords: Low frequency oscillations; direct current EEG; resting state; default mode; young adults; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; spontaneous neuronal activity