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Keywords:

  • N1;
  • Processing negativity;
  • Attention deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder;
  • Methylphenidate

ABSTRACT

This study compared the impact of methylphenidate on patients with Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with and without aggressive/noncompliant features in an oddball test consisting of a randomly ordered series of loud (frequent) tones, soft (rare) tones, bright (frequent) lights, and dim (rare) lights. In alternate conditions, subjects were required to respond to either the rare tones or the rare lights. These tasks were administered in a drug-free baseline session and after a counterbalanced treatment of 14 days each of methylphenidate (0.3 mg/Kg b.i.d.) and placebo (lactose b.i.d.). In comparison with placebo, methylphenidate resulted in greater accuracy and speed of reactions to targets of both modalities. The amplitude of N1 to auditory nontargets was larger when the target was a rare tone as opposed to a rare light, and this attention-related effect was increased by methylphenidate. The same differential amplitude enhancement by stimulant treatment was found for an early area measure of difference ERPs. In contrast, for N1 to visual nontargets the effect of selective attention (larger amplitude when the target was a rare light vs. a rare tone) was not significant and was not affected by stimulant medication. All these findings were comparable for the three ADHD subgroups, a result attesting to the generality of stimulant effects on information processing.