Blink rate and blink timing in children with ADHD and the influence of stimulant medication

Groen, Y., Borger, N. A., Koerts, J., Thome, J. & Tucha, O., Feb-2017, In : Journal of Neural Transmission. 124, Suppl 1, p. 27-38 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Spontaneous eye blink rate is modulated by
task demands and internal state, and is demonstrated to reflect central dopamine activity. Also, spontaneous eye
blinks are strategically timed around salient stimuli. This study investigates whether children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show reduced blink rates, blink modulation and blink timing, and whether this is
influenced by stimulant medication. The electrooculogram was measured in 18 typically developing children, 16 children with ADHD off methylphenidate (Mph), and 16 children with ADHD on Mph during a rest period and
during performance of a 60-min visual selective attention task. Blink rate and timing was extracted from the electrooculogram.
No evidence was found for aberrant blink
rate or blink modulation in children with ADHD off Mph. All groups increased blink rates from rest to task, and no group differences were found in blink rate during rest and
task, or in the modulation of blink rate from rest to task. Time-on task resulted in a similar increase in blink rates in all three groups. Stimulant medication appeared not to
influence blink rate and blink modulation, except that in the ADHD off Mph group the blink rate was enhanced only under conditions with performance feedback. All groups inhibited blinks before stimulus presentation and strategically timed their blinks after the stimulus. Children with ADHD off Mph showed reduced blink inhibition before the
stimulus; however, given the low incidence (\1 % of the trials) and long latency this is not likely to impair their visual intake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue numberSuppl 1
Early online date15-Oct-2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2017


  • Methylphenidate, Eye blinks, Dopamine, ADHD
Related Press / Media
  1. Blog about 'ADHD is not simply due to a shortage in dopamine'

    Yvonne Groen


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: ResearchPopular

View all (1) »

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 28160194