Mid-Atlantic Consortium Newsletter Summer 2013

Development of ADHD in Preschool Children: Neuroimaging and Behavioral Correlates

This study, conducted at the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) in Baltimore and directed by Mark Mahone, Ph.D., focuses on improving the ability to identify early indications of possible Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among preschoolers. To accomplish this goal, the investigators will conduct detailed studies of memory, attention, language, motor skills, and correlate the level of these abilities with brain development with the aid of magnetic resonance imaging scanning (MRI). Such studies generate a wealth of information that should lead to a better understanding of how early differences in brain development might lead to ADHD.

ADHD is now estimated to affect millions of children and often persists into adulthood. ADHD has many consequences but its core features include difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD often have poor social and academic achievement; many have great difficulty adjusting well to adolescence. They also have increased needs for health care.

There have been few studies of brain development among preschoolers with early indications of ADHD, and no such studies using neuroimaging. This study does both.

Participants in this research will include two groups of children entered into the study beginning at four to five years of age: one group identified as being at high risk for ADHD and the other without those risk factors. Both groups will be assessed yearly three times.  By comparing these two groups, researchers hope to better understand how ADHD develops, the critical links between brain and behavioral development, and how to develop more effective means of prevention in children at risk.

For more information, contact Lisa Ferenc by phone at 443-923-4469 or by email at ferenc@kennedykrieger.org.