Association of Preterm Birth With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder-Like and Wider-Ranging Neurophysiological Impairments of Attention and Inhibition

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Preterm birth has been associated with an increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-like symptoms and cognitive impairments similar to those seen in ADHD, including attention and inhibitory control difficulties. Yet data on direct comparisons across ADHD and preterm birth on cognitive-neurophysiological measures are limited.

METHOD: We directly compared 186 preterm-born adolescents to 69 term-born adolescents with ADHD and 135 term-born controls on cognitive-performance and event-related potential measures associated with attentional and inhibitory processing from a cued continuous performance test (CPT-OX), which we have previously shown to discriminate between the adolescents with ADHD and controls. We aimed to elucidate whether the ADHD-like symptoms and cognitive impairments in preterm-born individuals reflect identical cognitive-neurophysiological impairments in term-born individuals with ADHD.

RESULTS: Go-P3 amplitude was reduced, reflecting impaired executive response control, in preterm-born adolescents compared to both controls and adolescents with ADHD. Moreover, in preterm-born adolescents, as in term-born adolescents with ADHD, contingent negative variation amplitude was attenuated, reflecting impairments in response preparation compared to controls. Although the ADHD group showed significantly increased NoGo-P3 amplitude at FCz compared to preterm group, at Cz preterm-born adolescents demonstrated significantly decreased NoGo-P3 amplitude compared to the control group, similar to term-born adolescents with ADHD.

CONCLUSION: These findings indicate impairments in response preparation, executive response control, and response inhibition in preterm-born adolescents. Although the response preparation and response inhibition impairments found in preterm-born adolescents overlap with those found in term-born adolescents with ADHD, the preterm group also shows unique impairments, suggesting more wide-ranging impairments in the preterm group compared to the ADHD group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-50
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume56
Issue number1
Early online date24 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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