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Jessica Agnew-Blais wins Mental Health Foundation award

Dr Jessica Agnew-Blais from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) has won the Mental Health Foundation’s Janice Sinson Award, which aims to highlight key contributions in mental health research by postgraduate researchers.

Dr Agnew-Blais is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry at the IoPPN. In a recent study, she revealed that among people who had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age 18, nearly 70 per cent did not meet the diagnostic criteria in childhood (at ages 5, 7, 10 or 12, based on mother and teacher reports collected when participants were children). This suggested the possibility that ADHD, which was once considered to be a childhood-only disorder, may also begin in adulthood.

ADHD is thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects attention, concentration and impulsivity. Someone with ADHD might have significant attention problems, appear restless, fidgety, overactive and impulsive. They can act before thinking and often speak before thinking by blurting out and interrupting others.

Dr Agnew-Blais said: 'I am so grateful to Dr. Sinson for supporting this award, and to the Mental Health Foundation and their selection panel for judging my research as meriting this wonderful recognition. I hope that my research can draw attention to the issue of adult ADHD, and to the mental health problems faced by adolescents and young adults, in order to improve prevention and treatment. 

'I am incredibly appreciative of the outstanding opportunity afforded by Dr. Sinson and the Mental Health Foundation. It is my hope that my future research can shed light on the nature of late-onset ADHD, specifically the potential role of genetic factors.'

In a new blog, Dr Agnew-Blais explains her groundbreaking research into the development of ADHD in adulthood.