Frontal Beta Activity in the Meta-Intention of Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, Ahead of Print.
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have high theta and low beta activity in the frontal lobe. The higher the theta/beta ratio, the lower the level of central nervous system (CNS) cortical arousal. However, there is seldom evidence between electroencephalograms (EEGs) and the patient’s intentionality to regulate the cortical activity of executive attention tasks. We investigated whether children with ADHD intended to improve their performance in executive attention tasks and whether that increased their brain activity. Fifty-one children with ADHD (ADHD) and 51 typical developing (TD) children were investigated using focused attention (FA) and search attention (SA) tasks and a simultaneous EEG. The children were then regrouped as faster (ADHD-F, TD-F) and slower (ADHD-S, TD-S) depending on reaction time (RT). Quantitative EEGs of frontal lobe theta and beta activity at frontal F3, F4, and Fz were used. Twenty-eight (54.9%) ADHD children were regrouped as ADHD-S and 14 (27.5%) as TD-S. The ADHD-S group, however, had poorer FA and SA performance than the other 3 groups did: fewer correct answers, more frequent impulsive and missing errors, and higher RT variations. There were no significant differences in theta activity, but the TD-S group had higher beta activity than the ADHD-S group did. We conclude that the ADHD-F and ADHD-S groups had different attention processes. beta activity did not increase in the ADHD-S group, and their executive attention performance in the FA and SA tests was poor. It seems ADHD-S had poor meta-intention function. The frontal beta activity might be a feasible training target of neurofeedback in ADHD-S patients.

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