Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society



Motor persistence and inhibition in autism and ADHD


E. MARK  MAHONE  a1 c1 , STEPHANIE K.  POWELL  a1 , CHRISTOPHER W.  LOFTIS  a1 , MELISSA C.  GOLDBERG  a1 , MARTHA B.  DENCKLA  a1 and STEWART H.  MOSTOFSKY  a1
a1 Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

Article author query
mahone em   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
powell sk   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
loftis cw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
goldberg mc   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
denckla mb   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mostofsky sh   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The present study compared performance of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and high functioning autism (HFA) with that of controls on 4 tasks assessing 2 components of motor control: motor response inhibition and motor persistence. A total of 136 children (52 ADHD, 24 HFA, 60 controls) ages 7 to 13 years completed 2 measures of motor inhibition (Conflicting Motor Response and Contralateral Motor Response Tasks) and 2 measures of motor persistence (Lateral Gaze Fixation and NEPSY Statue). After controlling for age, IQ, gender, and basic motor speed, children with ADHD performed significantly more poorly than controls on the Conflicting Motor Response and Contralateral Motor Response Tasks, as well as on Statue. In contrast, children with HFA achieved lower scores than controls only on measures of motor persistence, with no concomitant impairment on either motor inhibition task. These results are consistent with prior research that has demonstrated relatively spared motor inhibition in autism. The findings highlight the utility of brief assessments of motor control in delineating the unique neurobehavioral phenotypes of ADHD and HFA. (JINS, 2006, 12, 622–631.)

(Received December 2 2004)
(Revised March 21 2006)
(Accepted March 21 2006)


Key Words: Neuropsychological tests; Motor skill; Executive function; Developmental disorders; Child; Development.

Correspondence:
c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: E. Mark Mahone, Ph.D., Department of Neuropsychology, Kennedy Krieger Institute, 1750 East Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21231. E-mail: mahone@kennedykrieger.org


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