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Amphetamine-based medications robustly suppress symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but their exact mechanisms remain poorly understood. Recent hemodynamic imaging studies have suggested that amphetamines may modulate the prefrontal and anterior cingulate brain regions, although few studies have been published and the results have not been entirely consistent. Meanwhile, several electrophysiological studies have shown that abnormal fast oscillations (in the γ range) may be closely linked to inattention and other cardinal symptoms of ADHD. In this study, we utilized magnetoencephalography to examine how amphetamines modulate high-frequency brain activity in adults with ADHD. Participants performed an auditory attention task, which required sustained attention in one block and passive listening in a separate block. Participants completed the task twice in the on-medication and off-medication states. All data were analyzed using beamforming techniques to resolve cortical regions showing event-related synchronizations and desynchronizations. Our primary findings indicated that oral administration of amphetamine decreased γ-band event-related desynchronization activity significantly in the medial prefrontal area and decreased event-related synchronization in bilateral superior parietal areas, left inferior parietal, and the left inferior frontal gyrus. These results suggest that psychostimulants strongly modulate γ activity in frontal and parietal cortical areas, which are known to be central to the brain's core attentional networks.


John D Franzen, Tony W Wilson. Amphetamines modulate prefrontal γ oscillations during attention processing. Neuroreport. 2012 Aug 22;23(12):731-5

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PMID: 22776904

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