This article is part of the Research Topic Sensory processing disorder (SPD)

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Integr. Neurosci., 29 March 2010 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2010.00008

Sensory over-responsivity and ADHD: differentiating using electrodermal responses, cortisol, and anxiety

1
Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Professions, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
2
Department of Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
Deficits in sensory modulation have been linked clinically with impaired attention, arousal, and impulsivity for years, but a clear understanding of the relationship between sensory modulation disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has proven elusive. Our preliminary work suggested that patterns of salivary cortisol and electrodermal responsivity to sensation may be linked to different groups of children with ADHD; those with and without sensory over-responsivity (SOR). Additionally, SOR has been linked to anxiety, and anxiety has been linked to ADHD. A clearer understanding of the relationship between anxiety, SOR, and ADHD may support a better understanding of ADHD diagnostic subtypes. We examined neuroendocrine, electrodermal and behavioral characteristics and sought to predict group membership among 6- to 12-year-old children with ADHD and SOR (ADHDs), ADHD and no SOR (ADHDt), and typicals (TYP). Behavioral questionnaires were completed to document SOR and anxiety. Lab testing used a Sensory Challenge Protocol (SCP) with concurrent electrodermal measurement and the collection of cortisol prior to and following the SCP. Results substantiated links between SOR and anxiety, in both TYP and ADHD children. Results suggests that ADHD should be considered in conjunction with anxiety and sensory responsivity; both may be related to bottom-up processing differences, and deficits in prefrontal cortex/hippocampal synaptic gating.
Keywords:
EDR, cortisol, ADHD, sensory over-responsivity, anxiety
Citation:
Lane SJ, Reynolds S and Thacker L (2010). Sensory over-responsivity and ADHD: differentiating using electrodermal responses, cortisol, and anxiety. Front. Integr. Neurosci. 4:8. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2010.00008
Received:
01 April 2009;
 Paper pending published:
11 August 2009;
Accepted:
09 March 2010;
 Published online:
29 March 2010.

Edited by:

John J. Foxe, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, USA; City College of the City University of New York, USA

Reviewed by:

Hilary Gomes, City College of New York, USA
Copyright:
© 2010 Lane, Reynolds and Thacker. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.
*Correspondence:
Shelly J. Lane, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Professions, Virginia Commonwealth University, 730 East Broad Street, Suite 2050, PO Box 980008, Richmond, VA 23298-0008, USA. e-mail: sjlane@vcu.edu