Topological organization of the "small-world" visual attention network in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Shugao Xia, John J. Foxe, Ariane E. Sroubek, Craig Branch, Xiaobo Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorder. Disrupted sustained attention is one of the most significant behavioral impairments in this disorder. We mapped systems-level topological properties of the neural network responsible for sustained attention during a visual sustained task, on the premise that strong associations between anomalies in network features and clinical measures of ADHD would emerge. Methods: Graph theoretic techniques (GTT) and bivariate network-based statistics (NBS) were applied to fMRI data from 22 children with ADHD combined-type and 22 age-matched neurotypicals, to evaluate the topological and nodal-pairing features in the functional brain networks. Correlation testing for relationships between network properties and clinical measures were then performed. Results: The visual attention network showed significantly reduced local-efficiency and nodal-efficiency in frontal and occipital regions in ADHD. Measures of degree and between-centrality pointed to hyper-functioning in anterior cingulate cortex and hypo-functioning in orbito-frontal, middle-occipital, superior-temporal, supra-central, and supra-marginal gyri in ADHD. NBS demonstrated significantly reduced pair-wise connectivity in an inner-network, encompassing right parietal and temporal lobes and left occipital lobe, in the ADHD group. Conclusions: These data suggest that atypical topological features of the visual attention network contribute to classic ADHD symptomatology, and may underlie the inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity that are characteristics of this syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number162
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - Mar 20 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Adhd
  • Attention
  • FMRI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Graph theoretic techniques
  • Network-based statistic
  • Small world network


Dive into the research topics of 'Topological organization of the "small-world" visual attention network in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this