A research project Inter-Staars is recruiting babies under 14 months who have a sibling / parent with ADHD or hyper active symptoms to take part in a computer-based attention training.  Inter-STAARS is a new, NHS approved study adopting a unique approach to early intervention for infants at risk of developing ADHD. 

This exciting research project, led by researchers at the University of Southampton and Birkbeck University of London, will investigate the effectiveness of early computerised attention training for infants at increased risk of developing the disorder. 

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a disorder characterised by inattention, impulsivity and hyper-activity. Symptoms include: 
- Talking excessively; 
- Interrupting others; 
- Fidgeting; 
- Difficulty organising; 
- Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities;
- Forgetfulness in daily activities; 
- Being unable to sit still for long periods of time;
- Moving around in unsuitable situations. 

The condition is believed to affect up to 5% of the general population. The exact cause of ADHD is an area of much debate. A growing body of evidence suggests that both genetic and environmental factors interact during pre- and early post-natal development. ADHD is believed to run in families and twin studies have shown that it is highly heritable. 

Evidence suggests that infants who go on to develop ADHD show early signs of reduced “executive attention” (the ability to focus and shift attention). This can include shorter periods of focused attention during play-based and screen-based tasks. Early interventions that strengthen attention capacity are predicted to reduce later ADHD symptoms. Researchers from the University of Southampton and Birkbeck University of London are looking to test this idea. 

The Inter-STAARS study is a randomised controlled trial of computer-based attention training. The study uses state of the art eye-tracking technology to monitor the infant’s attention and gaze duration during various interactive games. The eye tracker monitors exactly where the infant is looking, and enables the infant to control what happens next in the games. 

Previous research has shown that this training approach can improve attention in typically developing infants. We are interested in whether such effects can also be seen in infants at increased risk of developing ADHD, so we are targeting infants with a brother, sister or parent that already exhibit ADHD symptoms. Infancy is likely to be the best time to intervene, because the disorder is not fully developed and the brain is more adaptable to positive environmental effects. 

The infants taking part in the study will be randomly allocated to either the training condition described above or a control condition. Those infants in the control condition will watch animations that have not been designed to affect attention. Having a control condition is very important - it enables researchers to see if the training has had an impact on attention by comparing the results of the two groups. 

The training program is completed at twelve weekly home visits that, on average, last approximately one hour each. The team are flexible and are happy to work around your schedule. Everything in the study has been reviewed by ethics boards at the University and by the NHS. There are no known risks involved with taking part in the research and we will cover any expenses. You personal information will not be identified in the research - all data is anonymous and stored to the standards of data protection legislation.

To participate in the study you will require;
1. An infant under 14 months old;
2. A family member with ADHD, or suspected ADHD. This should be the infant’s brother, sister or a biological parent.

If you would like more information or want to take part please contact us:

Southampton Number: 023 8059 2655
Southampton Email: [email protected]

London Phone:0207 079 0761
London E-mail: [email protected]

Website: http://www.staars.org/-!interstaars/cm2a

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interstaars/