Aberrant Modulation of Brain Oscillatory Activity and Attentional Impairment in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Agatha Lenartowicz, Ali Mazaheri, Ole Jensen, Sandra K Loo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
177 Downloads (Pure)


Electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography are noninvasive neuroimaging techniques that have been used extensively to study various resting-state and cognitive processes in the brain. The purpose of this review is to highlight a number of recent studies that have investigated the alpha band (8-12 Hz) oscillatory activity present in magnetoencephalography and electroencephalography, to provide new insights into the maladaptive network activity underlying attentional impairments in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies reviewed demonstrate that event-related decrease in alpha is attenuated during visual selective attention, primarily in ADHD inattentive type, and is often significantly associated with accuracy and reaction time during task performance. Furthermore, aberrant modulation of alpha activity has been reported across development and may have abnormal or atypical lateralization patterns in ADHD. Modulations in the alpha band thus represent a robust, relatively unexplored putative biomarker of attentional impairment and a strong prospect for future studies aimed at examining underlying neural mechanisms and treatment response among individuals with ADHD. Potential limitations of its use as a diagnostic biomarker and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
Issue number1
Early online date6 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Alpha
  • biomarker
  • EEG
  • MEG
  • Neurophysiology
  • spectral power


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