Quantitative electroencephalographic profiles of children with attention deficit disorder

Biol Psychiatry. 1996 Nov 15;40(10):951-63. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(95)00576-5.


Quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) was obtained from 407 children with attention deficit disorder. These QEEGs were compared to those of 310 normal children. Discriminant analysis resulted in a specificity of 88% and a sensitivity of 93.7% for distinguishing normal children from those with attention deficit disorder. Two major neurophysiological subtypes were evident within the 92.6% abnormal QEEG profiles encountered. The first showed varying degrees of EEG slowing, especially in frontal regions, whereas the second showed an increase in EEG activity, especially in frontal regions. Deviations from normal development rather than maturational lag were present as the source of the neurophysiological abnormality in the majority of these children. In conjunction with recent magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, and regional cerebral blood flow studies, these results indicate neurophysiological dysfunction within the cortical and subcortical structures that serve the frontal/striatal system. Models suggesting both hypo- or hyperarousal of these structures are supported.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Learning Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Male