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A trio of Upstate winners highlight major ADHD conference

Upstate Medical University’s Rachel Aber, a second-year medical student, and psychiatry resident Kathleen Heslin, MD, were among those presenting research posters at the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorder’s (ASPARD) annual conference, held earlier this month in Orlando, Fla.

Aber and Heslin were selected as travel award winners by ASPARD, which help offset expenses for their conference attendance.

Aber’s poster, ADHD and Comorbid Mental Health Outcomes for Children and Adolescents with COVID-19, found that while ADHD poses a greater risk for numerous other comorbid mental health disorders, the Covid-19 infection “has been shown to significantly exacerbate this risk for the youth population.”

Heslin, in her first year of residency, presented a poster on the Association between ADHD and COVID-19 Infection and Clinical Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study from Electronic Medical Records. Among the findings were that the Covid-19 infection rate was significantly higher for ADHD patients, though ADHD patients had no difference in hospitalization or death rates.

Heslin, who earned her medical degree from Upstate, has had her research published in the Journal of Attention Disorder; she and Aber both are currently mentored by Upstate Professors Yanli Zhang-James, MD, PhD, and Stephen V. Faraone, PhD.

Also winning honors at the ASPARD conference was the poster Cardiometabolic Comorbidities in ADHD: A Retrospective Cohort Study from Electronic Medical Records’, which was selected as a Tris Research Poster Award. The citation goes to the poster that is considered “to have made an important contribution to the science of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” The poster highlighted the increased risk of cardiometabolic disease for patients with ADHD compared to non-ADHD patients. Collaborating on the poster were Upstate faculty Yanli-Zhang James, MD, PhD; Ruth Weinstock, MD, PhD; Stephen V. Faraone, PhD; and Upstate medical student John Paliakkara.

The ASPARD conference is a major gathering of leading experts in the field of ADHD, including researchers, clinicians aimed at promoting evidence-based practices to diagnose and manage and ADHD and its related disorders.

Caption: Winners for their outstanding posters, presented at the ASPARD conference earlier this month, are, from left, Kathleen Heslin, MD; Rachel Aber; Stephen V. Faraone, PhD, and Yanli-Zhang James, MD, PhD.