Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a challenge in child and adolescent psychiatry. In the recent decades many studies with longitudinal designs have used neuroimaging with ADHD patients, suggesting its neurodevelopmental origin.
Study the findings of neuroimaging (MRI, fMRI, DTI, PET) techniques on ADHD patients from a longitudinal point of view, looking also for the potential influence of treatments and other predictors (i.e. genetics).
To provide a global perspective of all the recent findings on ADHD patients with the neuroimaging technics, focusing on longitudinal measurements of the changes in brain development.
We conducted a review of the literature in the databases Pubmed and ScienceDirect (terms ADHD, neuroimaging, MRI, fMRI, DTI, PET, functional connectivity, metilphenidate and cortical thickness). We focused on studies using neuroimaging techniques with ADHD patients, looking at their populations, methodologies and results.
The studies found abnormalities in the structure of grey matter, activity and brain connectivity in many neural networks, with particular involvement of the fronto-parietal and Default Mode Network. There is also convergent evidence for white matter pathology and disrupted anatomical connectivity in ADHD. In addition, dysfunctional connectivity during rest and during cognitive tasks has been demonstrated.
This evidence describe ADHD as a brain development disorder, with delays and disruptions in the global development of the central nervous system that compromises grey and white matters, most evident in the prefrontal cortex, parietal and posterior cingulate cortices, as well as basal ganglia, damaging activity and structural and functional connectivity of various brain networks, especially the fronto-striato-parietal and default mode network.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.