Computerized power spectral analysis (PSA), permitting topographic representation and statistical analysis of EEG, of 25 right-handed males, 9-12 years of age with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was used in studies from the Departments of Psychology, Pediatrics (Neurology) and Computing Center, University of Tennessee and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knoxville, TN. When compared with 27 controls matched for age and grade level, children with ADHD had increased theta (4.75 Hz) and decreased beta 1 (12.75-21 Hz). The differences were less when the patients were at rest during visual fixation and greater when tested for reading and drawing skills. The increased theta activity was found in the frontal and central locations and decreased beta in posterior and temporal locations. These differences were enhanced in patients with ADHD during the drawing task, with a difference of more than 20% between groups (P<.01) in premotor and prefrontal regions. The study provided 80% predictability for ADHD group membership and 74% for membership in the control group. [1]

COMMENT. In a previous study [2] PSA was used successfully to differentiate the Boder subgroups of dyslexic children. An increase of theta in the left temporal region was greater for those with dyseidetic dyslexic disorder as compared with the dysphonetic disorder. The present study shows that quantitative EEG may help to characterize the attentive difficulties in children with ADHD and provide more objective and physiologically based data than are currently available from subjective questionnaires or rating scales.