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Neural Correlates of Duration Discrimination in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Their Comorbid Presentation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number569
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Accepted/In press18 Oct 2018
Published14 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study is supported by funding from the UK Department of Health via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for Mental Health at South London and the Maudsley National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust and the IoPPN, King's College London, which also support both senior authors, ES and KR. SL was supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) PhD Excellence awards. KR and SL are currently supported by an MRC Grant MR/P012647/1 to KR. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. We thank the young adults and families who took part in this study and the Adult ADHD and ASD Service at South London and Maudsley Hospital (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust for their support in this study. With thanks to Siobhan Higgins, Teresa Schenk, and Mavis Nyakunengwa for their help with participant recruitment and to Allison Cooper and the neuroimaging team for their support with the imaging data acquisition. Publisher Copyright: Copyright © 2018 Lukito, O'Daly, Lythgoe, Whitwell, Debnam, Murphy, Ashwood, Stoencheva, Simonoff and Rubia.


King's Authors


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often co-occur and share neurocognitive deficits. One such shared impairment is in duration discrimination. However, no studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have investigated whether these duration discrimination deficits are underpinned by the same or different underlying neurofunctional processes. In this study, we used fMRI to compare the neurofunctional correlates of duration discrimination between young adult males with ASD (n = 23), ADHD (n = 25), the comorbid condition of ASD+ADHD (n = 24), and typical development (TD, n = 26) using both region of interest (ROI) and whole brain analyses. Both the ROI and the whole-brain analyses showed that the comorbid ASD+ADHD group compared to controls, and for the ROI analysis relative to the other patient groups, had significant under-activation in right inferior frontal cortex (IFG) a key region for duration discrimination that is typically under-activated in boys with ADHD. The findings show that in young adult males with pure ASD, pure ADHD and comorbid ASD+ADHD with no intellectual disability, only the comorbid group demonstrates neurofunctional deficits in a typical duration discrimination region.

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