Heather M. Joseph, D.O.
Fellow in Child & Adolescent ADHD
Brooke Molina, Ph.D.
Erik Thiessen, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh
Reaction time variability in Infants at risk for ADHD
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often identified in school-aged children after impairment in school performance has occurred. Earlier identification of individuals with impaired attention could allow for interventions targeting executive functioning enhancement during a critical time in brain development, thereby reducing the negative outcomes associated with ADHD. Periodic lapses in sustained attention are characteristic of ADHD and have been measured using reaction time (RT) variability in children, adolescents, and adults. This study will examine visual RT variability as a measure of inattention in infants at high risk for ADHD. The hypothesis is that infants with parental ADHD have impaired attention, defined as highly variable RT, versus low risk infants. Using a cross-sectional design, we will assess visual RT of infants 8-10 months of age at high or low risk of developing ADHD by virtue of a parent with or without ADHD. Outcomes from this study could provide novel information regarding the ability to detect early markers of inattention in infancy. If so, a long term goal could be targeted early interventions to improve executive function and quality of life outcomes.