Electrophysiological markers of genetic risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorder with complex genetic aetiology. The identification of candidate intermediate phenotypes may facilitate the detection of susceptibility genes and neurobiological mechanisms underlying the disorder. Electroencephalography (EEG) is an ideal neuroscientific approach, providing a direct measurement of neural activity that demonstrates reliability, developmental stability and high heritability. This systematic review evaluates the utility of a subset of electrophysiological measures as potential intermediate phenotypes for ADHD: quantitative EEG indices of arousal and intraindividual variability, and functional investigations of attention, inhibition and performance monitoring using the event-related potential (ERP) technique. Each measure demonstrates consistent and meaningful associations with ADHD, a degree of genetic overlap with ADHD and potential links to specific genetic variants. Investigations of the genetic and environmental contributions to EEG/ERP and shared genetic overlap with ADHD might enhance molecular genetic studies and provide novel insights into aetiology. Such research will aid in the precise characterisation of the clinical deficits seen in ADHD and guide the development of novel intervention and prevention strategies for those at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Biological Markers
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans


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