AUTHORS: Férat V, Arns M, Deiber MP, Hasler R, Perroud N, Michel CM, Ros T

Biological Psychiatry, 7(8): 814–823, August 2022



Research on the electroencephalographic (EEG) signatures of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has historically concentrated on its frequency spectrum or event-related evoked potentials. In this work, we investigate EEG microstates (MSs), an alternative framework defined by the clustering of recurring topographical patterns, as a novel approach for examining large-scale cortical dynamics in ADHD.


Using k-means clustering, we studied the spatiotemporal dynamics of ADHD during the rest condition by comparing the MS segmentations between adult patients with ADHD and neurotypical control subjects across two independent datasets: the first dataset consisted of 66 patients with ADHD and 66 control subjects, and the second dataset comprised 22 patients with ADHD and 22 control subjects and was used for out-of-sample validation.


Spatially, patients with ADHD and control subjects displayed equivalent MS topographies (canonical maps), indicating the preservation of prototypical EEG generators in patients with ADHD. However, this concordance was accompanied by significant differences in temporal dynamics. At the group level, and across both datasets, ADHD diagnosis was associated with longer mean durations of a frontocentral topography (MS D), indicating that its electrocortical generator(s) could be acting as pronounced attractors of global cortical dynamics. In addition, its spatiotemporal metrics were correlated with sleep disturbance, the latter being known to have a strong relationship with ADHD. Finally, in the first (larger) dataset, we also found evidence of decreased time coverage and mean duration of a left-right diagonal topography (MS A), which inversely correlated with ADHD scores.


Overall, our study underlines the value of EEG MSs as promising functional biomarkers for ADHD, offering an additional lens through which to examine its neurophysiological mechanisms.

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