Functional neuroimaging of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a review and suggested future directions

Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun 1;57(11):1273-84. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.01.034.


Over the past few decades, functional neuroimaging techniques have begun to provide unprecedented windows on the neurobiology of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the neural effects of medications used to treat the disorder. Convergent data from neuroimaging, neuropsychological, genetics, and neurochemical studies have implicated dysfunction of fronto-striatal structures (lateral prefrontal cortex, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, caudate, and putamen) as likely contributing to the pathophysiology of ADHD. This review 1) provides an overview of the main imaging techniques being used to study ADHD; 2) discusses their relative strengths and weaknesses, highlighting how they can complement one another; 3) shows how the functional imaging literature, which has built on the structural imaging data, is now being used to test focused hypotheses regarding the neurobiological substrate of ADHD; and 4) suggests guidelines for improving future functional imaging studies. Although at present there are no accepted uses for functional imaging in diagnosing ADHD, this article mentions possible future clinical uses of imaging in ADHD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / pathology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / classification