This review aims to establish the cognitive processing of patients with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) across age. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies on children and adult populations were conducted, thus delineating deficits that could have been maintained and ameliorated across age. This allowed for the examination of the correlation between patterns of brain activation and the corresponding development of functional heterogeneity in ADHD. A systematic literature search of fMRI studies on ADHD was conducted using the PubMed and Scopus electronic databases based on PRISMA guidelines. References and citations were verified in Scopus database. The present study has identified 14 studies on children, 16 studies on adults, and one study on both populations of ADHD consisting of 1,371 participants. Functional heterogeneity is present in ADHD across age, which can manifest either as different brain activation patterns, intra-subject variability, or both. This is shown in the increased role of the frontal regions and the specialized network in adults with ADHD from inefficient non-specific activation in childhood. Functional heterogeneity may manifest when delayed maturation is insufficient to normalize frontal lobe functions.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.