What Is the Link Between Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Sleep Disturbance? A Multimodal Examination of Longitudinal Relationships and Brain Structure Using Large-Scale Population-Based Cohorts
Shen C, Luo Q, Chamberlain SR, Morgan S, Romero-Garcia R, Du J, Zhao X, Touchette É, Montplaisir J, Vitaro F, Boivin M, Tremblay RE, Zhao XM, Robaey P, Feng J, Sahakian BJ.
Biol Psychiatry. 2020 Mar 31. pii: S0006-3223(20)31381-0.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: ADHD is a 24-hour disorder: new evidence suggesting this has a biological core.
BACKGROUND: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) comorbid with sleep disturbances can produce profound disruption in daily life and negatively impact quality of life of both the child and the family. However, the temporal relationship between ADHD and sleep impairment is unclear, as are underlying common brain mechanisms.
METHODS: This study used data from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (n = 1601, 52% female) and the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (n = 3515, 48% female). Longitudinal relationships between symptoms were examined using cross-lagged panel models. Gray matter volume neural correlates were identified using linear regression. The transcriptomic signature of the identified brain-ADHD-sleep relationship was characterized by gene enrichment analysis. Confounding factors, such as stimulant drugs for ADHD and socioeconomic status, were controlled for.
RESULTS: ADHD symptoms contributed to sleep disturbances at one or more subsequent time points in both cohorts. Lower gray matter volumes in the middle frontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus, amygdala, striatum, and insula were associated with both ADHD symptoms and sleep disturbances. ADHD symptoms significantly mediated the link between these structural brain abnormalities and sleep dysregulation, and genes were differentially expressed in the implicated brain regions, including those involved in neurotransmission and circadian entrainment.
CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that ADHD symptoms and sleep disturbances have common neural correlates, including structural changes of the ventral attention system and frontostriatal circuitry. Leveraging data from large datasets, these results offer new mechanistic insights into this clinically important relationship between ADHD and sleep impairment, with potential implications for neurobiological models and future therapeutic directions.
* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion. It is not approved or necessarily representative of the CADDRA board.