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ODU Professor to Discuss Her Research on Adults with ADHD at Science Pub

By Joe Garvey

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.4 percent of the adult U.S. population has attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but less than 20 percent of those individuals seek treatment. Furthermore, experts believe the prevalence might be much higher because many adults are undiagnosed.

Anne Michalek, assistant professor of communication disorders and special education at Old Dominion University, will discuss her research on adults with ADHD at the first Science Pub of the spring semester. It is scheduled for Jan. 30 at Deadline Brewing Project, 2272 W. Great Neck Road, Virginia Beach. Networking begins at 6 p.m., followed by trivia and talks at 6:30.

Michalek will discuss her preliminary research, which indicates adults with ADHD do not benefit from audiovisual speech cues when the speech signal becomes degraded by high levels of background noise.

"Understanding the relationship between attention control, ADHD diagnostic criteria and the reasons why there is an audiovisual disadvantage in adults with ADHD advances our ability to design objective diagnostic tools and create effective educational strategies," she said. "My preliminary study is one of very few investigating these variables. As a follow-up, we are are using eye-tracking technology to better understand attention control, diagnostic criteria and how these things relate to audiovisual speech processing in noise."

Michalek's initial study included 72 adults between the ages of 18 and 35. Some had been diagnosed with ADHD; others had not. "Our research questions focused on between-group and within-group differences," she said.

Participants with a diagnosis of ADHD were asked to stay off ADHD medication for 24 hours before participating in the study. She said the results led to follow-up studies and multiple grant submissions, including one to the National Institute of Mental Health.

"Since only about 5 percent of ADHD adults graduate from college, this line of research is significant and relevant," Michalek said.

Science Pubs are an opportunity for the community to engage with ODU researchers in an informal setting. Arrive early and receive a free beverage, and you are encouraged to RSVP at this link.

For more information about Science Pubs, go to this site.

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