Preliminary evidence for altered motion tracking-based hyperactivity in ADHD siblings

Behav Brain Funct. 2014 Mar 13;10:7. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-10-7.


Background: It is well-established that ADHD children have deficits in executive functions such as performance variability and sustained attention. It has been suggested that these deficits are intermediate phenotypes. Hyperactivity, a core symptom of ADHD, has not yet been explored as a potential intermediate phenotype in ADHD. The computerized Quantified behavior Test (QbTest) is a combined continuous performance and activity test that assesses hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity separately. The aim of the present study was to (1) investigate the utility of objectively measured motor activity as a potential intermediate phenotype in ADHD, and (2) explore intermediate phenotypes for ADHD at the factor instead of single variable level.

Method: Forty-five ADHD children, 22 non-affected siblings, and 45 unrelated controls with no family history of ADHD performed the QbTest. Effects of familiality as well as influences of age and gender on QbTest symptom dimensions were tested.

Results: ADHD children showed the greatest impairments on all three QbTest factors, followed by their non-affected siblings, with control children showing the lowest scores. Group differences between the non-affected siblings and controls were only significant for the motion tracking-based Hyperactivity factor. Results were independent of age and gender.

Conclusion: Hyperactivity assessed by a motion tracking system may be a useful intermediate phenotype in ADHD. Prospective research should use larger samples to further examine the QbTest factors, especially the motion tracking-based Hyperactivity factor which may be a candidate for an intermediate phenotype in ADHD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperkinesis / genetics
  • Hyperkinesis / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Siblings*