Thalamic shape and connectivity abnormalities in children with attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Shugao Xia, Xiaobo Li, Ariane E. Kimball, Mary S. Kelly, Iris Lesser, Craig Branch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by widespread structural and functional abnormalities in the cortico-striato-thalmo-cortical (CSTC) loops that subserve attention and executive functions. In this study, we analyzed thalamic shape and its white matter connections using structural magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion (DTI) data acquired from children with ADHD (n=19) and controls (n=19). Shape morphology of the thalamus was assessed using shape-based analysis, while connectivity between the thalamus and other brain regions was determined using probabilistic diffusion tractography. Shape-based analysis indicated significant regional atrophy in the left thalamus in children with ADHD compared to controls. Group analyses of white matter connectivity measures showed significantly decreased mean fractional anisotropy (FA) and volume of the tracts between thalamus and striatum, hippocampus, and prefrontal lobe in children with ADHD compared to controls. The structural abnormalities within the thalamus and the reduced integrity of the white matter tracks between the thalamus and other brain regions, as shown from the results of this study, may be the anatomical bases of the impaired cognitive performances in the attention and executive function domains in ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Nov 30 2012



  • ADHD
  • DTI tractography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Shape analysis
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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