Do you or your child have problems with attention?

1 Jul 2010

Brisbane researchers are almost halfway through the biggest ever study into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – and they are seeking additional research participants.

Queensland Brain Institute and School of Psychology researchers are hoping to study more than 600 families, as they work towards identifying risk genes for the disorder.

Researchers believe that inherited genes could be responsible for cognitive problems that cause ADHD – and so far their results look promising.

“Our preliminary analyses show promising leads with a number of genes that are important for chemical signalling in the brain, such as those regulating noradrenaline. Noradrenaline is important for ADHD as many common drug treatments for ADHD act via this chemical system,” lead researcher Assoc. Professor Mark Bellgrove said.

“However, to be confident in our findings we need to recruit more families in order to be able to see if our results replicate.”

Working in collaboration with researchers at the Mater Children’s Hospital Brisbane and the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, researchers have already interviewed more than 250 families affected by ADHD. However for the study to be a success, they must meet with at least another 350 adults and children with the disorder.

People who take part will be required to give a small saliva sample from which DNA can be taken. Participants will also complete questionnaires and computerised attention tests, and some participants may also be asked to have a brain scan at The University of Queensland.  All travel costs associated with participating will be reimbursed.

“The genetic work is just part of our overall programme of work into ADHD,” explained Dr Bellgrove.

“We are also particularly interested in hearing from adults who have ADHD and might be interested in participating in a trial to measure the extent to which medications can improve brain activity underlying attention.”

People wanting to find out more about the study should visit, call 0434 375 652 or email


Media Contact:
Anna Bednarek
Communications Manager
Phone: +61 7 3346 6434

Notes to the Editor:
Assoc. Professor Mark Bellgrove completed his PhD in Experimental Neuropsychology at Monash University. In 2002 he commenced a post-doctoral period at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Dublin before being recruited to the University of Melbourne in 2005. He relocated to The University of Queensland in 2007 with a joint appointment between the Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Psychology. In 2008 he was awarded a Young Investigator grant from NARSAD, USA and in 2009 was awarded a Career Development Award from the NHMRC and 3 NHMRC Project Grants.

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) was established as a research institute of the University of Queensland in 2003. The Institute is now operating out of a new $63 million state-of-the-art facility and houses 27 Principal Investigators with strong international reputations. QBI is one of the largest neuroscience institutes in the world dedicated to understanding the mechanisms underlying brain function.