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Researchers launch international ADHD project

An international research project launched last month aims to advance our understanding of how and why attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often occurs alongside other physical and mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, substance use disorders and obesity. 
King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) is one of 17 institutions across nine countries to receive funding totalling €6 million.
The project - Comorbid Conditions of Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (CoCA) - is funded by the European Commission and will be led at the IoPPN by Professor Jonna Kuntsi, Professor Philip Asherson and Dr Anna Rommel from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre.
ADHD, a condition characterised by over-activity, impulsivity and a short attention span, is typically first diagnosed in childhood. It is often the entry route into a negative developmental trajectory later on: by adolescence and early adulthood, many will suffer from additional disorders such as depression, substance use disorders and obesity.

Through CoCA, the researchers hope to raise awareness of ADHD, reduce the stigma associated with the disorder, and empower prevention and therapy approaches.
Professor Jonna Kuntsi, from the SGDP Centre, said: ‘CoCA is a very ambitious collaborative project which aims to obtain new knowledge and provide new tools to prevent ADHD escalating into additional disorders. 
‘One example of a CoCA research project is a multi-site randomized controlled trial that will investigate the effectiveness of two kinds of interventions, bright light therapy and exercise, in adolescents and young adults with ADHD. The target here is the prevention of depressive symptoms and obesity. Here at IoPPN, postdoctoral researcher Dr Anna Rommel will be running the trial with Prof Philip Asherson and myself.’