Agatha Lenartowicz, Ph.D.

Fellow in Child & Adolescent Depression

Project Details


Sandra Loo, Ph.D.
Mark S. Cohen, Ph.D.


UCLA Center for Cognitive Neuroscience


Multimodal brain imaging of neural connectivity in ADHD


Multimodal brain imaging of neural connectivity in ADHD


Our ability to attend to sights and sounds of interest, ignore distraction and maintain focus relies on the flexible engagement and disintegration of neural networks, at the core of which lies the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The impairment of these processes in attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is therefore likely to include a deficit in the activation of PFC. However emerging evidence suggests that the interactions of PFC with other brain regions – its connectivity –may be even more powerful than the activity of PFC on its own, in explaining the behavioral and cognitive symptoms of ADHD. The objective of Dr. Lenartowicz’s research is to test whether deficient PFC connectivity contributes to behavioral symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity in adolescents with and without ADHD. The research program employs a novel neuroimaging technique of simultaneously recording two different types of neural signals: (a) signals of brain metabolism, measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging, that are used to assess the strength of PFC connectivity while an individual engages their attention, and, (b) electrical signals, measured by electroencephalography, that are used to refine the former by identifying the specific point in time at which attention impairments ensue. The outcome of this project will provide the basis for a clinically significant, connectivity-based framework of attention deficits in ADHD. This framework will be expanded in future research to account for ADHD symptom heterogeneity and improve diagnostic specificity that will ultimately be used to refine treatment.

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