FY2010 Human Developmental Neurobiology Unit

Principal Investigator: Gail Tripp
Research Theme: Reward mechanisms in human behaviour and neuropsychiatric disorders





The current research of the Human Developmental Neurobiology Unit seeks to clarify the nature and extent of altered sensitivity to reinforcement in children whose behavior is consistent with a diagnosis of ADHD, and in collaboration with the Wickens Neurobiology Unit and LABS-D’Or we wish to elucidate the neurobiological basis underlying it. Our international research partnerships will facilitate identification of any additional contribution of environmental factors to the manner in which children with and without ADHD process reinforcement and allow us to study the effects of drugs designed to treat ADHD on sensitivity to reinforcement. The results from this work will make an important contribution to understanding the mechanisms underlying altered sensitivity to reinforcement and the underlying causes of ADHD.  We believe this knowledge can be translated into improved behavioral and pharmacological management for ADHD. Additional benefits arising from conducting our research in Japan include the opportunity to contribute to increased knowledge and awareness of ADHD in a country in which it has received relatively little research attention and the ability to establish, test, and refine assessment procedures for local use.

1. Staff

  • Dr. Gail Tripp, Researcher
  • Dr. Emi Furukawa, Researcher
  • Dr. Shizuka Shimabukuro, Researcher
  • Ms. Teruya Waka, Technician
  • Ms. Aska Matsudo, Technician
  • Ms. Mayko Kurk, Research Administrator / Secretary

2. Collaborations

  • Theme: Cellular and behavioral mechanisms of hyperactivity and movement disorders
    • Joint research
    • Researchers:
      • Professor Jeff Wickens, OIST
      • Professor Brian Hyland, University of Otago
      • Dr. Brent Alsop, University of Otago
      • Dr. Alison Mercer, Univesity of Otago
  • Theme: Cross cultural continuity of altered reward sensitivity in children with ADHD 
    • Joint Research
    • Researchers:
      • Dr. Egas Caparelli-Dáquer, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
      • Dr. Emi Furukawa, OIST
  • Theme: Experimental study of altered reward sensitivity: Examining cross-national continuity and environmental influences
    • Joint Research
    • Researchers:
      • Professor Casella, Erasmo Barbante, Instituto da Criança do Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo
      • Dr. Emi Furukawa, OIST
  • Theme: Functional Imaging of altered reward sensitivity and its relation to human behavior
    •   Researchers:
      • Dr. Jorge Moll, D'Or Institute for Research and Education, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit
      • Dr. Jeff Wickens, OIST
      • Dr. Emi Furukawa, OIST

3. Activities and Findings:

3.1 Research Activities

3.1.1 Participant Recruitment: The recruitment of clinical and control participants is a critical element in our research. Extending previous efforts, this year we have visited with the Nago Education Office, the Office of the Superintendent of the DoDEA schools, the principals/vice principals of nine Okinawan schools, and staff from the Exceptional Family Members Program. A brief newspaper article about our research on ADHD, together with a strong presence at the OIST Open Campus, encouraged many families to contact us to participate in our research.

3.1.2 Data Collection: Data collection from clinical participants has been steady throughout the year. We worked with four schools to collect data from typically developing children during the year and a further two schools have agreed to participate during the 2011 summer vacation. We presented preliminary results from our control group data collection at the Eunethydis ADHD Conference “From data to best clinical practice” in Amsterdam in May 2010.

3.2 Outreach Activities

We actively participated in the OIST Open Houses, with a bilingual presentation/demonstration of common psychological phenomena. Children also had the opportunity to try out our touch screen neuropsychological tests, while parents were able to ask questions about ADHD and our research. Throughout the year we discussed our research and ADHD more generally with numerous parents and educators.

3.3 Collaborative Research Activities

3.3.1 Existing Collaborations: We have continued our externally funded research (Health Research Council of New Zealand) collaboration with Dr Brent Alsop at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Dr Alsop, Dr Sowerby (Research Fellow), and Stephanie Jensen (PhD student) presented results from our joint work in New Zealand at the Eunethydis ADHD conference “From data to best clinical practice” in Amsterdam in May.  Data collection for this study is now complete, and we are preparing data for analyses.

Our joint research projects with colleagues in Brazil have continued to move forward steadily despite some administrative delays.  Data collection for the project with Dr. Egas Caparelli-Dáquer and the University of State of Rio de Janeiro (Cross-national continuity of altered reward sensitivity in children with ADHD) is steady.  Data collection for the first imaging study with Dr. Jorge Moll of LABS-D'Or (Functional Imaging of altered reward sensitivity and its relation to human behavior) is nearing completion, and preliminary analyses are underway.  Data collection with our collaborator in São Paulo, Professor Casella, Erasmo Barbante of the Instituto da Criança do Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (Experimental study of altered reward sensitivity: Examining cross-national continuity and environmental influences) is ready to begin and will allow us, not only to extend our data collection, but to test effects of medications for ADHD on our experimental tasks.

4. Publications

4.1 Journals

  1. Sowerby, P., Seal, S. & Tripp, G. Working Memory Deficits in ADHD: The Contribution of Age, Learning/Language Difficulties, and Task Parameters. J Atten Disord, doi:1087054710370674 [pii] 10.1177/1087054710370674 (2010).
  2. Luman, M., Tripp, G. & Scheres, A. Identifying the neurobiology of altered reinforcement sensitivity in ADHD: A review and research agenda. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 34, 744-754, doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009.11.021 (2010).
  3. Galland, B. C., Tripp, E. G. & Taylor, B. J. The sleep of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder on and off methylphenidate: a matched case-control study. J Sleep Res 19, 366-373, doi:JSR795 [pii] 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2009.00795.x (2010).
  4. Galland, B. C., Tripp, E. G., Gray, A. & Taylor, B. J. Apnea-hypopnea indices and snoring in children diagnosed with ADHD: a matched case-control study. Sleep Breath, doi:10.1007/s11325-010-0357-0 (2010).
  5. Furukawa, E., Tangney, J., Higashibara F. Cross-cultural continuities and discontinuities in shame, guilt, and pride: A study of children residing in Japan, Korea and the USA. Self and Identity, doi:10.1080/15298868.2010.512748 (2011).

4.2 Books and other one-time publications

Nothing to report.

4.3 Oral and Poster Presentations

  1. Tripp, G. and Furukawa, E. Cross-cultural considerations in conducting research on reinforcement sensitivity and ADHD, Eunethydis ADHD Conference: “From data to best clinical practice, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2010 May 26-28, 2010
  2. Tripp, G. ADHD and reward, 29th International Congress of Clinical Neurophysiology, Kobe, Japan, Oct 28-Nov 1, 2010
  3. Shimabukuro, S. Sensitivity to changes in reinforcement contingencies for children with ADHD: Towards children's effective learning, Japanese Association of Behavioral Science. 27th Winter Conference in Okinawa, Feb 26, 2011
  4. Paula Sowerby, Seal S., Brent Alsop & Gail Tripp. Impaired Working Memory in ADHD – Deficit or Delay?, Eunethydis ADHD Conference: “From data to best clinical practice”, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 26-28, 2010
  5. Jensen, S., McAlpine, C., Alsop, B., Sowerby, P., & Tripp, G. Reward sensitivity and choice behaviour in children with ADHD, Eunethydis ADHD Conference: “From data to best clinical practice, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 26-28, 2010
  6. Furukawa E, McAlpine, C., Alsop B., Ito K., Tripp G. Cultural Contributions to Reinforcement Sensitivity, Eunethydis 1st international ADHD Conference: “From data to best clinical practice”, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 26-28, 2010
  7. Furukawa, E. Exploring the neurobiology of altered reinforcement sensitivity in ADHD, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit, Neuroscience Center, D'Or Institute for Research and Education, Jul 22, 2010

5. Intellectual Property Rights and Other Specific Achievements

Nothing to report.

6. Meetings and Events

Nothing to report.