Event related potentials during attention tasks in VLBW children with and without attention deficit disorder

Clin Neurophysiol. 2003 Oct;114(10):1841-9. doi: 10.1016/s1388-2457(03)00198-6.


Objective: Children born prematurely have a higher incidence of attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity. We have used visual event related potentials to study possible brain dysfunctions that could explain this higher incidence.

Methods: Very low birth weight (VLBW) children with and without AD/HD and term born children with and without AD/HD, were matched for IQ, age and socio-economic status (n=41, mean age 104 months). A visual oddball paradigm, consisting of target and non-target stimuli, was used with analysis of response times, error scores, N200, P300 and a P500 component.

Results: AD/HD children responded slower (F (1,38)=11.20, p<0.002); more varied (F (1,38)=21.77, p<0.000) and made more commission and omission errors (Kruskal-Wallis p<0.000). Non-target N200 was increased in amplitude (F (1.39)=4.01, p=0.05) with a wide anterior topography in children with AD/HD. The late positivity (P500) was decreased over central leads in children with AD/HD during the non-target stimuli (F (3,75)=3.00, p<0.036). No differences could be found in latency, amplitude or topography between VLBW children with AD/HD and term born children with AD/HD.

Conclusions: Prematurity does not induce specific attentional brain dysfunction or maturation delays in stimulus processing during cognitive tasks. Other factors should be investigated to explain the higher incidence of AD/HD in VLBW children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Area Under Curve
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Attention*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrooculography
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / psychology*
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Reaction Time