Deakin University

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Cortical structural and functional coupling during development and implications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-28, 04:53 authored by SM Soman, Nandi VijayakumarNandi Vijayakumar, P Thomson, G Ball, Christian HydeChristian Hyde, Tim SilkTim Silk
Functional connectivity is scaffolded by the structural connections of the brain. Disruptions of either structural or functional connectivity can lead to deficits in cognitive functions and increase the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To date, very little research has examined the association between structural and functional connectivity in typical development, while no studies have attempted to understand the development of structure-function coupling in children with ADHD. 175 individuals (84 typically developing children and 91 children with ADHD) participated in a longitudinal neuroimaging study with up to three waves. In total, we collected 278 observations between the ages 9 and 14 (139 each in typically developing controls and ADHD). Regional measures of structure-function coupling were calculated at each timepoint using Spearman's rank correlation and mixed effect models were used to determine group differences and longitudinal changes in coupling over time. In typically developing children, we observed increases in structure-function coupling strength across multiple higher-order cognitive and sensory regions. Overall, weaker coupling was observed in children with ADHD, mainly in the prefrontal cortex, superior temporal gyrus, and inferior parietal cortex. Further, children with ADHD showed an increased rate of coupling strength predominantly in the inferior frontal gyrus, superior parietal cortex, precuneus, mid-cingulate, and visual cortex, compared to no corresponding change over time in typically developing controls. This study provides evidence of the joint maturation of structural and functional brain connections in typical development across late childhood to mid-adolescence, particularly in regions that support cognitive maturation. Findings also suggest that children with ADHD exhibit different patterns of structure-function coupling, suggesting atypical patterns of coordinated white matter and functional connectivity development predominantly in the regions overlapping with the default mode network, salience network, and dorsal attention network during late childhood to mid-adolescence.



Translational psychiatry



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United States










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