Light up ADHD: II. Neuropharmacological effects measured by near infrared spectroscopy: is there a biomarker?

Silvia Grazioli, Maddalena Mauri, Alessandro Crippa, Eleonora Maggioni, Massimo Molteni, Paolo Brambilla, Maria Nobile

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in self-controlling attention, behavior, and emotions. In recent years, noninvasive optical techniques, such as near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), have been used to measure the neural correlates of pharmacological-therapy outcomes in children and adolescents with ADHD. Methods: We reviewed a short series of articles that investigated the results of functional NIRS (fNIRS) on developmental-age ADHD. The review was limited to fNIRS studies that investigated the cortical responses that occurred during neuropsychological tasks in ADHD patients who received methylphenidate or atomoxetine. Results: The majority of the reviewed studies revealed the presence of increased oxygenated hemoglobin concentrations in the prefrontal cortex following pharmacotherapy in ADHD samples. A higher frequency of right-lateralized results was found. Limitations: The considered studies are characterized by substantial methodological heterogeneity in terms of the patients’ medication status and washout period, explored cerebral regions, and neuropsychological tasks. Conclusions: fNIRS seems to be a promising tool for the detection of pharmacological-treatment biomarkers in samples of children and adolescents with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • ADHD
  • Biomarker
  • fNIRS
  • Pharmachological-treatment
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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