Abnormal Hand Control May Indicate ADHD Severity

Phasic, total overflow greater in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Hand movement control measurements can be used in determining the severity of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, according to two studies published in the Feb. 15 issue of Neurology.

Lindsey K. MacNeil, of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, and colleagues observed 25 right-handed children with ADHD and 25 controls as they performed a sequential finger-tapping task. Their goal was to develop and implement a way to quantify excessive mirror overflow movements in children with ADHD. They found phasic overflow and total overflow in both hands greater in children with ADHD than in the control subjects. In separate gender analyses, they found that only boys with ADHD had significantly more total phasic overflow and total overflow than gender-matched controls. The authors concluded that the quantitative measures used in their study could assist with further study into the brain basis of motor control in ADHD.

Donald L. Gilbert, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, and colleagues used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to evaluate brain activity in 49 children with ADHD and 49 controls, all right-handed. They found short-interval cortical inhibition (SICI) 40 percent lower in children with ADHD, who also scored 59 percent lower on motor development tests than the control group. Less SICI correlated with more severe ADHD, and worse motor development scores correlated modestly with less SICI.

"Reduced TMS-evoked SICI correlates with ADHD diagnosis and symptom severity and also reflects motor skill development in children," Gilbert and colleagues conclude.

One author of both the first and second articles disclosed serving on a scientific advisory board for Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Abstract - MacNeil
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Abstract - Gilbert
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