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The STAARS Project.

Major new research study into early detection of ADHD

Research at Birkbeck, The University of London

 

 

Families from across the UK are being invited to take part in a study to investigate the early emergence of ADHD. This is funded by, amongst others, the UK Medical Research Council.

 

Professor Mark Johnson and his team at the Babylab at Birkbeck, University of London are embarking on the Studying Autism and ADHD Risk in Siblings (STAARS) project, which will map brain development from birth in order to identify the earliest signs of these lifelong disorders.

 

The STAARS team invite families to join the study who have a child diagnosed with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and/or autism and are expecting a baby or have an infant aged 0-10 months.

 

Since children share similar genetic backgrounds with their siblings, those with older siblings who have ADHD are more likely to go on to receive a diagnosis of ADHD and those that do not receive a diagnosis may still show difficulties associated with this condition, albeit in a subtle way.

 

Infants who join our study would visit our Babylab to complete short screen-based tasks such as watching faces or colourful animations, and take part in interactive play sessions with a researcher and their parent. Infants are invited to participate for a maximum of 3 visits until the child is 18 months. Later they are invited for two follow-up visits at 2 and 3 years of age respectively. During these visits the team will use innovative neuroimaging, cognitive and behavioural tests.

 

Mother Charlotte Warner whose son Freddie was involved in a previous Babylab study said: “It’s great fun, and a really nice way to spend an afternoon with your baby. You learn a lot just by talking to staff at the Babylab about what they’re looking for: things that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought about as a parent.”

 

The study extends ground-breaking research published by Birkbeck’s Babylab scientists in 2012 which detected signs of autism in babies as young as six months old. ADHD affects 3-5% of children in the UK. Although parents may notice symptoms from infancy, children are often not diagnosed until they are at nursery or school. Earlier diagnosis of these children would help make it possible to design earlier and more effective interventions that may ameliorate or even prevent symptoms from developing.

 

Professor Mark Johnson said: “We are very excited to be embarking on what is one of the most innovative collaborative research projects into early markers of autism and ADHD to have been carried out to date. Combining the data and expertise at the Babylab in London with that of our partners across Europe and North America will enable us to drive discoveries that will make a real impact on the lives of people with autism or ADHD and their families.”

 

Information received on 28th of April 2013.

 

For further information or to participate in this study please contact:
Janice Fernandes
Email: staars@bbk.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)20 7079 0761

 

www.staars.org
The STAARS Project, website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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