ADHD and Behavior Genetics Research

Sue’s research over the past 20 years has to understand genetic influences on human behavior, particularly in behavioral disorders with childhood-onset, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Discovering genetic influences and how environments may modify their expression is likely to be key tohealth and well-being in the 21st century.

Her research group, supported largely through NIH grants, has been a leading lab in mapping genes contributing to ADHD and in identifying gene to brain to behavioral pathways. Her studies include some 600 families with ADHD drawn from the Greater Los Angeles area and 9000 adolescents seen in Northern Finland as part of longitudinal epidemiological studies in conjunction with investigators in the U.K. and Finland. Her work has been instrumental in reframing ADHD as a less common variant of behavior along a continua of variability in the general population, much like very tall people would represent an atypical variant along a continua of height. This reframing of ADHD has important implications for both treatment and prevention of the impairing aspects of ADHD while heightening interest in studying strengths associated with this condition. She is a member of the International Collaborative Studies of ADHD Network, a global network of researchers involved in ADHD genetics. Her publications cover topics spanning ADHD, autism, and behavior genetic research methodologies. Recent research publications in the area of ADHD include the following (see Scholarly Papers for full publication listing).

Smalley SL. Genetics and the Future of ADHD. Advances in ADHD June issue, 2(3):74-78, 2008.

Smalley SL. Reframing ADHD in the Genomic Era. Psychiatric Times 15(7): 74-78, 2008.

Articles in a Special Section of Am. J. Adolescent and Child Psychiatry: December, 2007 46(12). Smalley SL and Jarvelin M (editorial)

Smalley et al., Prevalence and Psychiatric Comorbidity of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in an Adolescent Finnish Population. Pp 1575-1583.

Lubke et al., Subtypes Versus Severity Differences in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in the Northern Finnish Birth Cohort. Pp 1584-1593.

Loo SK et al., Executive Functioning Among Finnish Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder pp1594-1604.

Hurtig T, et al., ADHD symptoms and subtypes: relations between childhood and adolescent symptoms.pp:1605-1613.

Nyman ES et al., ADHD Candidate Gene Study in a Population-Based Cohort: Association with DBH and DRD2. pp 1614-1621.

Loo SK, Smalley SL. Preliminary Report of Familial Clustering of EEG Measures in ADHD. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B (Neuropsychiatric Genetics)147B:107-109, 2008.

Hale TS, Loo SK, Zaidel E, Hanada G, Macion J, Smalley SL. Rethinking a Right Hemisphere Deficit in ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders 2008. Published online: 27 August 2008

Loo SK, Rich EC, Ishii J, McGough JJ, McCracken JT, Nelson S, Smalley SL.Cognitive functioning in affected sibling pairs with ADHD: Familial clustering and dopamine genes. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology and Allied Disciplines. In Press.

Mindful Awareness Research

With the shifting emphasis on prevention and health enhancement afforded, in part, by the genomic era of the 21st century, Dr. Smalley has expanded her research into studies of mind-body practices, like meditation, and how they may enhance health and well-being of children, adolescents, and adults in the general population or clinical groups such as those with ADHD. Recent research publications in the area of mindful awareness include the following (see Scholarly Papers for full publication list).

Zylowska L, Ackerman DL, Yang MH, Futrell JL, Horton NL, Hale TS, Pataki C,Smalley SL. Mindfulness Meditation Training in Adults and Adolescents with ADHD: A Feasibility Study. The Journal of Attention Disorders 11(6): 737-746, 2008

Zylowska L, Smalley SL: Mindful Awareness for ADHD. In Mindfulness and its Clinical Applications F Didonna F (ed). Springer, 2008.

Smalley SL, Loo SK, Hale TS, Shrestha A, McGough JJ, Flook L, Reise S. Mindfulness and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Under Review

Flook L, Smalley SL, Kitil MJ, Galla B, Kaiser-Greenland S, Locke J, Kretzmann M, Ishijima E, Kasari C. Mindful Awareness Practices Improve Executive Function in Elementary School Children. Under Review.