Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood psychological disorders. The symptoms of ADHD include difficulties focusing attention, trouble with impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity or restlessness. Scientists have shown that people with ADHD process information differently than people without ADHD. One theory that has been proposed to explain this difference is that the brains of people with ADHD mature and develop more slowly than the brains of people without ADHD.

We are examining the brain changes that occur during adolescence and into adulthood and how those changes are related to the symptoms of ADHD. We do this using functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI. fMRI is a 3-dimensional picture of the brain using magnetic waves. When participants perform cognitive tasks in an fMRI machine we can see what areas of the brain are activated by these tasks. Understanding these changes through development and aging may be useful for understanding how ADHD changes as people get older, and may help us to develop better treatments for ADHD in the future.

Contact the Potter Lab at (802) 847-5444 or for more information on any study.

Cognitive Processes in ADHD

In this study we want to see how the brains of adults with ADHD function differently when asked to do tasks involving attention, memory, and impulsivity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI, a brain scan). To this end we are recruiting 100 non-smoking adults (18-65), 50 with and 50 without ADHD, and asking them to participate in one or two 2-hour study days in which they will perform computer tasks while in the fMRI scanner.

The Effects of Nicotine and Ritalin on the ADHD Brain

The goal of this study is to use functional MRI to examine how nicotine improves impulse control and working memory in young adults (18-25) who either have or do not have ADHD. This study will look at patterns of brain activation associated with nicotine and methylphenidate (Ritalin, a common treatment for ADHD) to help understand how the differences in the brain functioning of people who have ADHD may affect their behavior. We are looking for 24 non-smoking young adults (18-25) who have, and 24 who do not have, ADHD. The volunteers will complete three 6-hour study visits in which they will receive nicotine alone, methylphenidate alone, or placebo and then be asked to perform computer tasks in the fMRI.



Alexandra Potter, Ph.D.