Connecting the dots: a review of resting connectivity MRI studies in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Neuropsychol Rev. 2014 Mar;24(1):3-15. doi: 10.1007/s11065-014-9251-z. Epub 2014 Feb 5.


Psychopathology is increasingly viewed from a circuit perspective in which a disorder stems not from circumscribed anomalies in discrete brain regions, but rather from impairments in distributed neural networks. This focus on neural circuitry has rendered resting state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) an increasingly important role in the elucidation of pathophysiology including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unlike many other MRI techniques that focus on the properties of discrete brain regions, rs-fcMRI measures the coherence of neural activity across anatomically disparate brain regions, examining the connectivity and organization of neural circuits. In this review, we explore the methods available to investigators using rs-fcMRI techniques, including a discussion of their relative merits and limitations. We then review findings from extant rs-fcMRI studies of ADHD focusing on neural circuits implicated in the disorder, especially the default mode network, cognitive control network, and cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical loops. We conclude by suggesting future directions that may help advance subsequent rs-fcMRI research in ADHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Rest