Research Findings

Preliminary Research Findings from the ACTIVE Study

The following research summaries were presented at the 2020 American Professional Association for ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD) conference in Washington, DC.

Brain Electrophysiology Subtypes of ADHD: Children with ADHD show one of three patterns of brain activity during tasks that require attention. Some children’s brains seem to have difficulty processing surprising stimuli; others seem to have difficulty holding onto information while they are doing a task; still others seem to have reduced levels of neural excitation that makes it hard to increase attention resources when faced with a more difficult task.

Co-occuring Psychiatric Symptoms in ADHD: Certain personality traits appear to increase the likelihood that a child with ADHD will have co-existing psychiatric symptoms. For example, children with ADHD who have more negative affect, less self-control, and are more outgoing are more likely to have co-existing oppositional behaviors. Children with ADHD who have negative affect, but typical levels of self-control and extroversion, are more likely to have co-existing anxious symptoms.

Brain Signature for Anxiety Symptoms Differs in ADHD: Based on a measure of neural excitation (EEG) that occurs after a child makes an error during a task, anxiety symptoms do not increase a child with ADHD’s subconscious awareness of their own mistakes. This is in contrast to kids without ADHD, who tend to show more subconscious attention to their own mistakes if they are anxious.