Frontostriatal Glutamate in ADHD: Neuropsychological and Behavioral Correlates

Principal Investigator: Mark Mahone

Glutamate is an excitatory amino acid and the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain. Glutamate levels are linked to a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders, and have been implicated in the development of core symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The overall goal of this study is to characterize the anomalous development of frontostriatal glutamate among medication-naïve children with ADHD (using proton-magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 7.0 Tesla), and to determine the specific mechanisms of cognitive and behavioral dysfunction associated with these glutamatergic anomalies. Our proposed study will be the first extensive investigation to characterize the neurobiology of ADHD in children using advanced MR spectroscopy at 7.0 Tesla. Our specific aims are as follows: 1. We will examine the neurochemical differences between children medication naïve children with ADHD and controls, emphasizing prefrontal, premotor, and striatal regions of interest. 2. We will examine the relationship neurochemical differences identified in Aim 1, and core symptoms of ADHD, including neuropsychological measures of executive control (response inhibition, working memory, response preparation) and ADHD symptom severity. In order to do this, we will recruit and assess 40 children, ages 5-9 years of age, with ADHD, and 40 age-, sex- and IQ-matched typically developing children.