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AQUA-Trial (Assessing QbTest Utility in ADHD)

What we are doing:

This study will find out whether:

  • Using the results of an objective test of activity and attention (QbTest) leads to an earlier correct diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • The QbTest leads to better treatment and improved patient outcomes for ADHD
  • The QbTest is clinically and financially viable in the NHS

Why we are doing it:

ADHD is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects 3-5 in 100 children. The symptoms of ADHD include poor attention, hyper-activity and impulsivity. There has been a rapid growth in diagnosis over the last 30 years with the number of children recognised and treated for ADHD in the UK increasing almost 10 fold from the early 1980s, with spending on drugs for ADHD increasings even fold between 1998 and 2005. Despite this growing demand, clinical methods for assessing and treating ADHD have hardly changed over the past 30 years. Current ‘best clinical practice’ relies on lengthy clinical interviews and observations or questionnaires. However, in real-world NHS practice it is generally not possible to provide this to all referrals with the result that patients often have to wait a long time until a diagnosis of ADHD is confirmed.

What the benefits will be:

Objective measures of activity and attention have the potential to shorten assessment time, increase diagnostic accuracy, reduce delays in treatment, and improve treatment response. QbTest uses a computerised measure of attention and impulsivity with a motion tracking system that records the amount of movement the patient makes when performing the task. QbTest is the only test of its type that measures the physical movement of the patient, which may be important in distinguishing ADHD from other conditions. There is some evidence to suggest that QbTest can reduce diagnostic uncertainty by improving the accuracy of diagnosis and reducing the time to start treatment for ADHD.

Who we are working with:

We are working alongside Community Paediatric and Child and Mental Health Service teams across the East Midlands and England, our partners include:

  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • NIHR Mindtech HTC
  • Medway NHS Foundation Trust
  • Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • North East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • QBTech Ltd
  • ADHD Solutions

We are inviting young people (aged 6-18 years) and their parents/carers, who have been referred for an assessment of ADHD to participate in the trial.


Principal Investigator: Prof Chris Hollis
Lead Researcher: Dr Charlotte Hall

Jayne Simpson

Useful links: