Brain and Emotion Markers of ADHD and Treatment Response


This research relies on using objective measures of brain & behaviour to assess ADHD and effectiveness of treatment with the goal of increasing confidence in clinical decisions.


Professor Lea Williams

Research Location

Westmead - Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Program Type



The identification and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is predominantly subjective and therefore remains controversial. There is a need to increase the objectivity of ADHD treatment evaluation. Primary outcomes will be a more objective basis for use of a new non-stimulant medication (atomoxetine) and to provide clinicians with predictive information about a viable alternative to stimulant prescriptions. This project will draw on a standardised and integrated approach to identify the objective neurocognitive markers which can predict response to ADHD medications. A possible goal of this project will be to examine `neurocognitive profiles' which can best predict response to non-stimulant treatment. A special focus of this study will be on internalizing comorbid symptoms which are known to be less responsive to alternative stimulant treatments. This work will help identify brain, emtion and cognitive profiles in ADHD to help clinicians predict which type of treatment an individual may respond to. Outcomes of this project will also substantially influence our understanding of the neurobiological models of ADHD. This project aligns with recent interest in catecholamines and their widespread networks which involve the interplay between brainstem arousal and the inhibitory control of the frontal cortex.

Additional Information

As part of this project candidates will have the opportunity to be trained to collect brain function measures such as electroencephalography and electrodermal activity data from patients in a hospital setting. Candidates will also be trained to use sophisticated EEG/ERP scoring and statistical software. This project will also involve collection of clinical rating scales and assessments with ADHD patients
Candidates would need to bring their own funding and the opportunity for top-up funding (approx $5kpa) is available for those based at BDC via Westmead Millenium Institute.

The Brain Dynamics Centre
The goal of the Brain Dynamics Centre research is to shed light on the workings of the human brain, and the cause and treatment of brain-related disorders

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Psychophysiology, electroencephalography, Event-Related Potentials, electrodermal Activity, Medication Prediction, Catecholamines, Neurocognitive, Attention, Impulsivity, Emotion Recognition, Clinical Rating Scales, Therapeutics & adverse drug effects, Behavioural & psychiatric disorders, Counselling & patient support, Human body, Neuroscience & psychology

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 858

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