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MAAM – Measuring Adult ADHD and Menstruation Study

The Measuring Adult ADHD and Menstruation (MAAM) Study is a collaborative project between Queen Mary University of London (PI Agnew-Blais, Co-I Iliodromiti) and King’s (Co-I’s Kuntsi and Dobson).

While in childhood more boys are diagnosed with ADHD than girls, in adulthood women make up nearly 50% of the ADHD population. However, because of an outdated idea that ADHD only affects males, ADHD among adult women is often overlooked in research. This project seeks to address this neglect by investigating several important aspects of ADHD among women, including whether menstrual cycle hormonal changes make symptoms worse for women with ADHD.

Among women with ADHD, the effects of hormones on functioning are a big concern. Many women with ADHD report their ADHD gets worse, or their medication doesn't work as well, at certain times of their menstrual cycle. However, this has not been investigated in a research study. To look into this issue, we will collect information from women for 3 months in two ways: first, we will give daily questionnaires on smartphones about ADHD symptoms, ADHD medication, menstrual cycle, and related problems (like low mood and cognitive problems). Second, we will use a 'smart ring' device that women wear on their finger to sense sleep patterns and physical activity, which may help us understand how hormonal changes and ADHD are related. This 'smart ring' can also measure body temperature, which is important because body temperature changes over the menstrual cycle, so this is a non-intrusive way to assess cycle phase. Findings from this study could have a major impact on ADHD treatment for women, as cycle tracking, adjustments of medication dosage during certain cycle phases and interventions to support sleep and physical activity may be beneficial.