Gamma-frequency neuronal activity is diminished in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A pharmaco-MEG study

Tony W. Wilson, Martin W. Wetzel, Matthew L. White, Nichole L. Knott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder affecting approximately 4-7% of children and persisting in 2-5% of adults. The core symptoms include pervasive inattention and inappropriate levels of hyperactivity-impulsivity. High-frequency gamma activity has been implicated in the temporal binding of stimulus properties across cortical areas, and is known to be crucial for complex information processing and attentional processes in particular. Thus, we evaluated the amplitude of gamma-frequency neural responses in adults with and those without ADHD, and tested whether stimulant medications, the most common treatment for ADHD, modulate gamma activity in affected adults. Participants underwent two sessions (∼75 min apart) of auditory stimulation using stimuli known to elicit 40 Hz gamma-band responses as magnetoencephalography data were acquired. Between sessions, the ADHD group (who were in maintenance therapy) were administered their daily stimulant medication and both groups were told to relax. The primary results indicated that gamma activity was weaker in the ADHD group during session one (pre-drug), but not session two (post-drug), and that gamma activity significantly increased following stimulant administration in adults with ADHD. These results suggest that ADHD is associated with reduced cortical gamma activity and that stimulants may ameliorate this abnormality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-777
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • 40 Hz
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Adderall
  • attention
  • magnetoencephalography
  • stimulant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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