Diurnal variation of motor activity in adult ADHD patients analyzed with methods from graph theory
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental syndrome characterized by age-inappropriate levels of motor activity, impulsivity and attention. The aim of the present study was to study diurnal variation of motor activity in adult ADHD patients, compared to healthy controls and clinical controls with mood and anxiety disorders. Wrist-worn actigraphs were used to record motor activity in a sample of 81 patients and 30 healthy controls. Time series from registrations in the morning and evening were analyzed using measures of variability, complexity and a newly developed method, the similarity algorithm, based on transforming time series into graphs. In healthy controls the evening registrations showed higher variability and lower complexity compared to morning registrations, however this was evident only in the female controls. In the two patient groups the same measures were not significantly different, with one exception, the graph measure bridges. This was the measure that most clearly separated morning and evening registrations and was significantly different both in healthy controls and in patients with a diagnosis of ADHD. These findings suggest that actigraph registrations, combined with mathematical methods based on graph theory, may be used to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the diurnal regulation of motor activity.