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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Our studies of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) take place primarily in Costa Rica. We are examining the clinical and neurological profile of individuals with and without ADHD, and are also conducting genetic studies of ADHD in our ADHD families from the Central Valley of Costa Rica (CVCR).

Clinical and phenomenological studies:  In addition to examining the rate of other psychiatric disorders in ADHD families, we are interested in the intersection between ADHD and anxiety disorders such as OCD, and between ADHD and compulsive hoarding.  Our studies have shown that the rates of ADHD among OCD-affected individuals are higher than the rates of ADHD in the general population, and that in these individuals, ADHD is associated with the presence of clinically significant compulsive hoarding behaviors.  We are planning to further pursue this finding, both in ADHD-affected families and individuals, and in OCD-affected families and individuals, to determine the precise nature of the relationship between ADHD,OCD, and compulsive hoarding (i.e., whether ADHD is secondary to the presence of OCD or compulsive hoarding, whether b these disorders are caused by the same gene(s), or whether there other factors that lead to an increased rate of ADHD in OCD and CH).

Neuropsychological studies: We are collecting neuropsychological information, including measures of memory, attention, and processing speed, among others, in the ADHD families in Costa Rica.  Previous evidence has suggested that ADHD-affected individuals and their family members may have specific neuropsychological patterns, and that these patterns may be useful for genetic studies.  We are examining the neuropsychological profiles of the participants in our ADHD studies to see whether there are identifiable patterns within ADHD families. We are also interested in how these patterns relate to the presence or absence of other psychiatric disorders, such as mood and anxiety disorders, in these families.

Genetic studies: Our genetic studies of ADHD are ongoing, and are in collaboration with the ADHD Molecular Genetics Network.  We expect to begin the genetic analysis of 200 ADHD families from the CVCR within the year.