Study Objectives The purpose of this study is to examine the association of abnormal periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS) with neurocognitive and behavioral outcomes in adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) from the general population. Methods Four hundred twenty-one adolescents (17.0 ± 2.3 years, 53.9% male) from the Penn State Child Cohort, a random general population sample, underwent 9 hr polysomnography, clinical history, physical examination, neurocognitive evaluation, and completed the Child or Adult Behavioral Checklist (C/ABCL). The presence of ADHD was ascertained by parent- or self-report of receiving a diagnosis of ADHD. PLMS were defined as a PLM index (PLMI) of ≥5 events per hour of sleep. Results Adolescents with ADHD (n = 98) had a significantly higher PLMI (5.4 ± 7.3) and prevalence of PLMS (35%) when compared with controls (3.4 ± 5.6, p = 0.006 and 21%, p = 0.004). Significant interactions between ADHD and PLMS showed that adolescents with both disorders (n = 35) were characterized by deficits in control interference, as measured by Stroop test, and elevated internalizing behaviors, as measured by C/ABCL. ADHD severity and externalizing behaviors were elevated in a dose-response manner across ADHD-alone (n = 63) and ADHD + PLMS groups. The association of ADHD with other neurocognitive functions did not vary as a function of PLMS. Conclusions PLMS are significantly more frequent in adolescents with ADHD. Importantly, adolescents with both disorders not only have worse neurobehavioral functioning than adolescents with ADHD-alone but specifically presented with executive deficits and anxiety symptoms. These data suggest that PLMS may be a marker of more severe underlying neurobiological deficits in adolescents with ADHD and comorbid internalizing problems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Physiology (medical)