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A review of executive function deficits in autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Authors Craig F, Margari F, Legrottaglie A, Palumbi R, De Giambattista C, Margari L

Received 20 January 2016

Accepted for publication 23 February 2016

Published 12 May 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1191—1202


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Francesco Craig,1 Francesco Margari,2 Anna R Legrottaglie,1 Roberto Palumbi,1 Concetta de Giambattista,1 Lucia Margari1

1Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, 2Psychiatry Unit, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, Bari, Italy

Abstract: Executive dysfunction has been shown to be a promising endophenotype in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This article reviewed 26 studies that examined executive function comparing ASD and/or ADHD children. In light of findings from this review, the ASD + ADHD group appears to share impairment in both flexibility and planning with the ASD group, while it shares the response inhibition deficit with the ADHD group. Conversely, deficit in attention, working memory, preparatory processes, fluency, and concept formation does not appear to be distinctive in discriminating from ASD, ADHD, or ASD + ADHD group. On the basis of neurocognitive endophenotype, the common co-occurrence of executive function deficits seems to reflect an additive comorbidity, rather than a separate condition with distinct impairments.

executive function, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ASD + ADHD, neurocognitive endophenotype

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