PRISM Project - Using Brainwaves to Improve Young People’s Lives

The PRISM Project is funded through Science Foundation Ireland, Frontiers for the Future (Grant number 20/FFP-P/8615). The project is led by joint principal investigators Prof. Jane McGrath (Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist) and Prof. Rob Whelan (Associate Professor, School of Psychology). Alannah Smyth and Tom Farnan are PhD candidates currently working on this project.

This project aims to use precision medicine to improve treatment of childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Approximately 1 in 20 children worldwide have ADHD. Poorly treated ADHD is associated with negative academic and socioeconomic consequences. Stimulant medications such as Methylphenidate (the first-line pharmacological treatment; common brands are Ritalin or Concerta) can be extremely effective however they do not work for every child. Currently there is no validated, objective , quantitative method for predicting who will eventually respond to stimulant treatment.

This project will use state-of-the-art home-based recording of brain activity and behaviour alongside neurally informed computational modelling to develop a measure allowing clinicians to predict treatment outcome. We will recruit 300 medication-naive patients (age 10-17) from CAMHS centres nationwide. Our industry collaborators Cumulus Neuroscience have developed dry-sensory electroencephalography (EEG) headsets that make this home-based data collection possible.

Tasks for this project have been developed to appear similar to playing a video game in order to maintain participant engagement. The goal of this project is to develop a measure of treatment response that can be used by clinicians and will allow children with ADHD to experience faster relief from their symptoms.