Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder as a right hemisphere syndrome: Selective literature review and detailed neuropsychological case studies

Gerry A. Stefanatos, Jeanette Wasserstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent studies of ADHD implicate well-defined neuroanatomical networks and neurochemical pathways in its pathophysiological basis. Considerable attention has focused on the role of anterior and superior frontal regions and portions of the basal ganglia, including the caudate nucleus and globus pallidus. This paper reviews a growing literature suggesting differential involvement of right hemisphere mechanisms specialized for behavioral regulation and attention. Supportive data are drawn from neuropsychology, neuroanatomy, and neurochemistry. In addition, three cases are presented that illustrate the complex role of right hemisphere dysfunction in adult manifestations of ADHD. We suggest that the pleomorphic presentations of ADHD can be understood in terms of a spectrum of disturbances in overlapping neural regions, especially involving frontal and parietal areas of the right hemisphere and their connections to subcortical structures (including the striatum, limbic system and diencephalic nuclei).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-195
Number of pages24
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume931
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Catecholamines
  • Dopaminergic
  • Nonverbal learning disabilities
  • Noradrenergic
  • Right hemisphere deficit

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