The aim of this study was to determine whether EEG differences exist between children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) who later outgrow the disorder and those who continue to be symptomatic as adults.
Thirty-eight boys, diagnosed with AD/HD as children, were reassessed 11 years later to determine who met criteria for adult AD/HD. At the childhood assessment, an EEG was recorded from the AD/HD group and a control group, during an eyes-closed resting condition. This was analysed for absolute and relative power in the delta, theta, alpha and beta bands, and the theta/beta ratio.
At the childhood assessment, the AD/HD group had an EEG profile typical of the disorder, with increased absolute and relative theta, reduced relative alpha, and increased theta/beta ratio. EEG differences were found between those who outgrew the disorder and those who did not – the adult AD/HD group had greater childhood global relative beta, reduced frontal relative theta, and increased frontal absolute and relative beta.
These results suggest the existence of specific CNS differences in childhood AD/HD that may be used to predict the developmental course of the disorder.
This is the first study to investigate childhood EEG markers of adult AD/HD.