An event-related potential study of response inhibition in ADHD with and without prenatal alcohol exposure.

Burden MJ, Jacobson JL, Westerlund A, Lundahl LH, Morrison A, Dodge NC, Klorman R, Nelson CA, Avison MJ, Jacobson SW
Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2010 34 (4): 617-27

PMID: 20102568 · DOI:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.01130.x

BACKGROUND - The attention and cognitive problems seen in individuals with a history of prenatal alcohol exposure often resemble those associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but few studies have directly assessed the unique influence of each on neurobehavioral outcomes.

METHODS - We recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) during a Go/No-go response inhibition task in young adults with prospectively obtained histories of prenatal alcohol exposure and childhood ADHD.

RESULTS - Regardless of prenatal alcohol exposure, participants with childhood ADHD were less accurate at inhibiting responses. However, only the ADHD group without prenatal alcohol exposure showed a markedly diminished P3 difference between No-go and Go, which may reflect a more effortful strategy related to inhibitory control at the neural processing level.

CONCLUSION - This finding supports a growing body of evidence suggesting that the manifestation of idiopathic ADHD symptoms may stem from a neurophysiologic process that is different from the ADHD symptomatology associated with prenatal alcohol exposure. Individuals who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol and present with ADHD symptomatology may represent a unique endophenotype of the disorder, which may require different treatment approaches from those found to be effective with idiopathic ADHD.

MeSH Terms (14)

Alcohol Drinking Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity Cohort Studies Evoked Potentials Female Follow-Up Studies Humans Inhibition (Psychology) Male Pregnancy Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects Prospective Studies Reaction Time Young Adult

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