Age-related differences in frontal lobe function in children with ADHD

Akira Yasumura*, Mikimasa Omori, Ayako Fukuda, Junichi Takahashi, Yukiko Yasumura, Eiji Nakagawa, Toshihide Koike, Yushiro Yamashita, Tasuku Miyajima, Tatsuya Koeda, Masao Aihara, Masumi Inagaki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The neural correlates of executive function disorders are thought to be predominantly localized within the prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, no study to date has investigated changes in this system across different age groups in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Thus, this study aimed to explore changes in PFC function in children with ADHD. Methods: Study participants included typically developing (TD) children (n = 140) and children with ADHD (n = 67) of primary school age. Behavioral executive functions and their neural basis were evaluated between the TD children and children with ADHD and also across different age periods (younger and older children). To examine executive function, inhibitory control was assessed using the reverse Stroop task, and PFC near-infrared spectroscopic measurements were used to investigate the neural mechanisms involved. Results: Both ADHD symptoms and the ability to inhibit color interference improved with age. Compared to TD children, children with ADHD demonstrated decreased activation of the right and middle PFC across all age groups. Interestingly, the left PFC appeared to play a compensatory role. Conclusion: Children with ADHD exhibited changes in PFC function that varied with age. Longitudinal studies are required to assess the potential of using PFC function as an early biomarker of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Development
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Children with ADHD
  • Frontal lobe function
  • Inhibitory control
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)
  • Prefrontal cortex (PFC)
  • Reverse Stroop task (RST)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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