Acute neuropsychological effects of methylphenidate in stimulant drug-naıve boys with ADHD II - broader executive and non-executive domains

Sinéad M. Rhodes, David, R Coghill, Keith Matthews

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Abstract

Accumulating evidence supports methylphenidate-induced enhancement of neuropsychological functioning in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The present study was designed to investigate the acute effects of the psychostimulant drug, methylphenidate (MPH), on neuropsychological performance in stimulant naı¨ve boys with ADHD. Seventy-three drugnaı ¨ve boys (age 7-15) with ADHD (combined type) completed neuropsychological tasks from the CANTAB battery under randomised, placebo controlled, double-blind conditions following an acute challenge with either placebo (n ¼ 24), .3 (n ¼ 25) or .6 (n ¼ 24) mg/kg oral MPH. MPH did not impair performance on any task. MPH (.6 mg/kg) lengthened response latencies on a task of Spatial Recognition, shortened response times on a Reaction Time task and restored performance on a Delayed Matching to Sample visual, non-working memory task. Contrary to predictions, MPH did not enhance performance on tasks with a prominent executive component, including Go/NoGo, Spatial Working Memory, Stockings of Cambridge and Attentional Set shifting tasks. Acute administration of MPH to drug-naı¨ve boys with ADHD did not impair neuropsychological performance. Acute MPH enhanced performance on some aspects of non-executive functioning. MPH-induced slowing of responding on a relatively complex Spatial Recognition memory task and quickened responding on a reaction time task requiring less cognitive resources suggests that MPH may act by improving self-regulatory ability. MPH may not exert its effects on neuropsychological functioning by enhancing executive processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1184-1194
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume47
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Keywords

  • ADHD
  • stimulant
  • methylphenidate
  • cognition
  • executive functioning
  • self-regulation

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