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BAT Study: Biomarkers of ADHD Treatment Response

BAT study logoWe are seeking 7-11 year old children with ADHD or referred for ADHD evaluation, who are candidates for stimulant medication treatment. The goal of this study is to find brain markers in children that will predict which ADHD medication is best for them. We are using non-invasive EEG and neuropsychological testing to investigate. No blood draws are done. Funding for the BAT Study is provided to Anne Arnett, PhD and Eugenia Chan, MD by the Rosamund Stone Zander Translational Neuroscience Center (RSZ-TNC).

General Information about Participation

Your family may be eligible to participate if you have a child who:

  • Is 7-11 years old
  • Is diagnosed with ADHD or you highly suspect ADHD and would appreciate our help confirming
  • Is not currently taking SSRIs or stimulants
  • Is not diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability

Study participation involves:

  1. Caregiver completes a 10-minute screening phone call
  2. Caregiver completes a phone/video interview that takes 30-60 minutes and completes questionnaires online (20-30 minutes).
  3. Your child may then be invited to complete the Baseline in-person research visit at our laboratory at Two Brookline Place, which involves: a) neuropsychological evaluation and b) non-invasive EEG, where your child wears a hat while playing games and watching videos.
  4. Your child trials a form of methylphenidate extended release (generic or Concerta) for 3 weeks. During those 3 weeks, we will get ratings from you and your child’s teacher each week to monitor their response to the medication. You will have a phone call with the prescribing MD each week to discuss the medication effects.
  5. If methylphenidate does not seem to be the right fit for your child, then he/she will do another 3-week trial, this time with mixed amphetamine salts (generic or Adderall XR).
  6. At the end of each 3-week medication trial, you and your child will come to our lab for EEG and brief testing of executive functioning.
  7. 3- and 6-months after you complete the medication trial(s), you will be asked to complete brief questionnaires online (10-20 minutes).

Please see handout.

More Information about the Medication

  • Study design follows the BCH Developmental Medicine Center standard approach to clinical treatment of pediatric ADHD with psychostimulants.
  • Medications are taken by mouth once per day in the morning.
  • Your insurance will be billed when you fill the medication prescriptions at the pharmacy of your choice.
  • We cannot guarantee these medications will help your child, but if they are effective then they may improve ADHD symptoms.
  • Potential side effects are the same as for standard treatment and are generally mild.
  • If your child cannot tolerate the medication, it will be discontinued or adjusted.

More Information about the In-person Visits

  • The Baseline laboratory visit will last about 2 hours. The follow-up visits are each about 1.5 hours.
  • We will give you parking validation or reimbursement for transportation.
  • During each visit, your child will complete an EEG (electroencephalogram), which is a non-invasive way of measuring brain activity.
  • During each visit, caregiver will meet with doctors, and complete questionnaires and interviews.
  • During the Baseline visit, we will complete brief cognitive testing with your child. We will measure your child’s general cognitive development and executive functioning skills.

More Information about EEG

  • EEG is painless and non-invasive.
  • During the EEG, we put a cap (similar to a swim cap) on your child’s head while your child watches videos and plays simple games.
  • You can take pictures and see your child’s brain waves.
  • The EEG lasts about an hour.
  • Please view a short EEG introductory video.

More Information about the Cognitive/Neuropsychological Testing, Medication, and Follow-up Results

  • You and your child’s provider will be given a report of the cognitive assessment and medication trial results, including recommendations. This may be helpful for mental health treatment and academic planning.
  • We may also provide additional tailored recommendations to your family depending on the results of the 3- and 6-month follow-up surveys.

Compensation at Each In-person Visit

  • Reimbursement for parking or transportation
  • Toy/prizes for your child
  • A $10 gift card emailed to you each time you complete the 3- and 6-month online survey (potential total of $20 for completing both follow-up measures)

Please contact us at ArnettLab@childrens.harvard.edu or call 617-919-7771 to learn more! By calling or emailing, you are not agreeing to participate. Your decision to enroll is completely voluntary and if you do decide to enroll, you may drop out of the study at any time.