Thesis defense Jeanette Mostert (Donders series 221)
10 June 2016
Promotors: prof. dr. B. Franke, prof. dr. D. Norris
A network perspective on adult ADHD
ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is often associated with very active children. However, when these children become adults many still experience symptoms of inattentiveness and high impulsivity. Little is currently known about what causes ADHD in adulthood. Cognitive functions such as attention rely on several brain regions that together form functional networks. Jeanette Mostert investigated whether the symptoms of adults with ADHD can be explained by reduced communication within functional brain networks. She found that hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms are associated with stronger coherence within one of the investigated networks. This network is important for controlling emotions and inhibiting automatic responses. However, this does not explain the symptoms of all adults with ADHD, due to large inter-individual differences. Jeanette Mostert therefore separated the adults into subgroups based on their cognitive functioning. While some adults with ADHD performed poorly on memory tasks, others showed highly impulsive responding. This provides novel insides into the variation between individuals with the same diagnosis. Future research should therefore be focussed on individual differences in order to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie adult ADHD. This is the first step towards a more personalised treatment of ADHD.