PI Name: Jennifer Levitt
Institution: UCLA


Although Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) represents one of the most common psychiatric disorders of youth, and despite much prior research, the biological underpinnings remain poorly understood. The prevalence of ADHD in the general population is estimated at 3-9%, though risk for siblings of children with ADHD is 3-5 times greater. The high prevalence and increased risk for co-morbid conditions such as reading disabilities (~20%), disruptive behavior disorders (~60%), anxiety/mood disorders (40%), and substance abuse/dependence (~40%) underscores the morbidity of this disorder and the potential costs to the individual and society. Symptom clusters of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity are diagnostic of the illness, but appear partially independent. Given the heterogeneous presentation of ADHD, the identification of biomarkers that are heritable phenotypes (i.e., endophenotypes) is essential for furthering understanding of the underlying neurobiology.