Which areas of the brain are responsible for executive function and what changes in those areas manifest as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018
  • Author: Maggie A Wilkes, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Answer

Findings from neuropsychological studies suggest that the frontal cortex and the circuits linking them to the basal ganglia are critical for executive function and, therefore, to attention and exercising inhibition. Many findings support this view, including those described below.

Executive functions are major tasks of the frontal lobes. MRI of the right mesial prefrontal cortex in persons with ADHD (ADD) strongly supports decreased activation (low arousal) during tasks that require inhibition of a planned motor response and timing of a motor response to a sensory cue. MRI in persons with ADHD (ADD) also strongly supports weakened activity in the right inferior prefrontal cortex and left caudate during a task that involves timing of a motor response to a sensory cue.


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