September 30, 2010

Dr. Jeff Stanley's ADHD study begins testing phase

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects 4.5 million children ages 3 to 17 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disorder is associated with difficulty focusing and hyperactivity, which can persist into adulthood in 60 percent of cases.

Although drug and psychotherapy treatments exist, there is no cure for ADHD. The cause and progression of the disorder is poorly understood biochemically, anatomically and functionally, said Jeffrey Stanley, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences for the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Dr. Stanley and his team at the Brain Research and Imaging Neuroscience division are seeking participants to take part in a study of the chemistry, function and structure of the brain in 6- to 14-year-olds both with and without ADHD, to track the development of the disorder and facilitate the improvement of therapies.

The study seeks to enhance the understanding of ADHD's early stages; more specifically, at what age and where brain networks deviate from normal development.

The five-year neuroimaging analysis will compare the results of children and teens who have been diagnosed with or are suspected of having ADHD with those who have no personal or immediate family history of ADHD or other mental illness. Both groups will undergo behavioral and cognitive tests, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, functional MRI and in vivo spectroscopy at the WSU MR Research Facility in Harper University Hospital. Participants will be assessed three times during the study to map the results.

The project is part of Dr. Stanley's ongoing research study that recently was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health with a $2.7 million grant. In addition, Dr. Stanley, in collaboration with Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, was awarded a two-year supplement grant of $209,328 from the NIMH to support the functional MRI analyses.

"The early identification of impaired networks and charting temporally impaired networks in ADHD is critical in gaining a greater understanding of the development and progression of ADHD," Dr. Stanley said.

Dr. Stanley also is co-director of the Brain Research and Imaging Neuroscience division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and is program director and graduate officer of the Ph.D. program in Translational Neuroscience.

To learn more about the study, contact Rachel Dick at or (313) 577-6279.