Altered frontal pole development affects self-generated spatial working memory in ADHD

Sumiyoshi Arai, Yuko Okamoto, Toru Fujioka, Keisuke Inohara, Makoto Ishitobi, Yukiko Matsumura, Minyoung Jung, Kaori Kawamura, Shinichiro Takiguchi, Akemi Tomoda, Yuji Wada, Michio Hiratani, Naomi Matsuura, Hirotaka Kosaka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background Spatial working memory (SWM) dysfunction is a feature of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Previous studies suggested that behavioral performance in self-generated SWM improves through development in children with and without ADHD. Nevertheless, developmental changes in the neural underpinnings of self-generated SWM are unknown. Method Using near-infrared spectroscopy, hemodynamic activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) was measured in 30 children with ADHD (9.5 ± 1.6 years-old) and 35 TD children (9.0 ± 1.6 years-old) while they performed a self-generated SWM task. We then investigated correlations between age and behavioral performance, and between age and hemodynamic activity in the PFC for each group. Results Both groups showed a negative correlation with age and number of errors [ADHD: r(28) = −0.37, p = 0.040; TD: r(33) = −0.59, p < 0.001], indicating that self-generated SWM improves through development. The TD group showed a positive correlation between age and oxygenated hemoglobin in the frontal pole [10ch: r(33) = 0.41, p = 0.013; 11ch; r(33) = 0.44, p = 0.008] and bilateral lateral PFC [4ch: r(33) = 0.34, p = 0.049; 13ch; r(33) = 0.54, p = 0.001], while no significant correlation was found in the ADHD group. Furthermore, regression slopes for the frontal pole significantly differed between the TD and ADHD groups [10ch: t(61) = 2.35, p = 0.021; 11ch: t(61) = 2.05, p = 0.044]. Conclusion Children with ADHD showed abnormalities in functional maturation of the frontal pole, which plays a role in manipulating and maintaining information associated with self-generated behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-480
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Battery (CANTAB®)
  • Development
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)
  • Prefrontal cortex (PFC)
  • Self-generated spatial working memory (SWM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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