Background: Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often demonstrate sensory processing difficulties in the form of altered sensory modulation, which may contribute to their symptomatology. Our objective was to investigate the neurophysiological correlates of sensory processing deficits and the electrophysiological characteristics of early information processing in adult ADHD, measured by the P1 event-related potential (ERP). Methods: We obtained ERPs during a Go/NoGo task from 26 adult patients with ADHD and 25 matched controls using a high-density 128-channel BioSemi ActiveTwo recording system. Results: ADHD patients had a significantly reduced P1 component at occipital and inferotemporal scalp areas compared to controls. The reduction was associated with inattention and hyperactivity symptom severity, as measured by the Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scale. ADHD patients with higher inattention scores had significantly smaller P1 amplitudes at posterior scalp sites, while higher hyperactivity scores were associated with higher P1 amplitudes. Conclusions: Deficits in early sensory processing, as measured by the P1 ERP component, are present in adult ADHD patients and are associated with symptom severity. These findings are suggestive of bottom-up cognitive deficits in ADHD driven by impairments in early visual processing, and provide evidence that sensory processing problems are present at the neurophysiological level in this population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health