UCSF Sound & Touch Study — ADHD

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  • Study director: Elysa Marco, MD
  • Sponsor: Private Foundation: The Wallace Foundation
  • Recruiting?: Yes
  • Official study title: UCSF Sound & Touch Study
  • Conditions studied: Predictive factors for differences in sensory processing & discrimination in boys with ADHD
  • Purpose: The purpose of this study is to look at how boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder process sound and touch and whether these sensory differences exist on a neurological level. We are looking at where in the cortex activity is generated and how that activity looks in terms of timing and level of response. Specifically, we are interested in primary sensory regions (areas of the brain that sensory processing first occurs) and multi-sensory regions (where these inputs are integrated and modulated).


  • Inclusion criteria:
    • Male, 8-11 years old
    • Diagnosis of ADHD
    • Performance IQ > 80, as determined by WISC-IV
    • All medication doses must be stable for 6 weeks prior to testing
  • Exclusion criteria:
    • Congenital or acquired brain injury (e.g., cortical malformation, stroke, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, head injury with loss of consciousness >15 minutes, or multiple sclerosis)
    • Movement disorder (e.g., Tourette’s Syndrome)
    • Psychiatric disorders: bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
    • Current history of pacemaker, ferromagnetic matter in body (e.g. braces, permanent metal retainer), claustrophobia or significant medical illness
    • Unable to tolerate an MEG or MRI

What is Involved?

  • Testing: Cognitive testing, a neurological exam, sensory testing, parent report questionnaires, and brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and MEG (magnetoencophalography)
  • Frequency of visits: 2-3 visits (about 6 hours)
  • Materials needed prior to evaluation: None
  • Costs: No costs will be charged for any of the study procedures. Parking will be validated for Millberry Parking Garage at UCSF for all study visits. $80 monetary compensation for participation.

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