The effect of single-dose methylphenidate on resting-state network functional connectivity in ADHD

Timothy J Silk, Charles Malpas, Alasdair Vance, Mark A. Bellgrove

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We examined the effect of a single dose of methylphenidate (MPH) on whole brain functional connectivity, assessed using resting state functional MRI (rsfMRI), in young people with ADHD. 16 young people with ADHD participated in two rsfMRI scans in a randomized, placebo-controlled study with an acute dose of MPH (20 mg). 15 typically developing controls also performed the task under placebo conditions. The network-based statistic (NBS) was used to identify differential connectivity patterns between the MPH and placebo conditions in the ADHD group. Mean connectivity of the resulting sub-network was examined in the ADHD and control groups. Resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) analysis revealed significantly reduced connectivity under MPH compared to placebo in young people with ADHD. Findings were robust across a range of thresholds. No sub-networks of increased connectivity were found at any threshold. Mean connectivity of the identified sub-network was significantly higher in ADHD individuals in the placebo condition compared to controls, however there was no difference between MPH condition and controls. We demonstrated a significant MPH-related reduction in RSFC in a large, robust network primarily involving occipital, temporal and cerebellar regions, and visual, executive and default mode networks. These findings suggest that MPH is ‘normalising’ a higher RSFC in young people with ADHD. This study is a novel addition to the understanding of treatment effects on the brain in ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1422-1431
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • ADHD
  • Functional connectivity
  • Methylphenidate
  • MRI
  • Network based statistic

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