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Cortical thickness and inattention/hyperactivity symptoms in young children: a population-based study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2014

S. E. Mous
Affiliation:
The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
R. L. Muetzel
Affiliation:
The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
H. El Marroun
Affiliation:
The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
T. J. C. Polderman
Affiliation:
Complex Trait Genetics, Department of Functional Genomics, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR), Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam (NCA), VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
A. van der Lugt
Affiliation:
Department of Radiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
V. W. Jaddoe
Affiliation:
The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
A. Hofman
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
F. C. Verhulst
Affiliation:
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
H. Tiemeier
Affiliation:
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
D. Posthuma
Affiliation:
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Department of Clinical Genetics, Section Medical Genomics, VU MC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
T. White*
Affiliation:
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Department of Radiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
*
* Address for correspondence: T. White, M.D., Ph.D., Erasmus MC-Sophia, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Room KP-2869, PO Box 2060, 3000 CB Rotterdam, The Netherlands. (Email: t.white@erasmusmc.nl)

Abstract

Background.

While many neuroimaging studies have investigated the neurobiological basis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), few have studied the neurobiology of attention problems in the general population. The ability to pay attention falls along a continuum within the population, with children with ADHD at one extreme of the spectrum and, therefore, a dimensional perspective of evaluating attention problems has an added value to the existing literature. Our goal was to investigate the relationship between cortical thickness and inattention and hyperactivity symptoms in a large population of young children.

Method.

This study is embedded within the Generation R Study and includes 6- to 8-year-old children (n = 444) with parent-reported attention and hyperactivity measures and high-resolution structural imaging data. We investigated the relationship between cortical thickness across the entire brain and the Child Behavior Checklist Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Problems score.

Results.

We found that greater attention problems and hyperactivity were associated with a thinner right and left postcentral gyrus. When correcting for potential confounding factors and multiple testing, these associations remained significant.

Conclusions.

In a large, population-based sample we showed that young (6- to 8-year-old) children who show more attention problems and hyperactivity have a thinner cortex in the region of the right and left postcentral gyrus. The postcentral gyrus, being the primary somatosensory cortex, reaches its peak growth early in development. Therefore, the thinner cortex in this region may reflect either a deviation in cortical maturation or a failure to reach the same peak cortical thickness compared with children without attention or hyperactivity problems.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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