New device approved to diagnose ADHD

Jorde Lain

New Member
6 Aug 2013
Fairhope, AL
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was once an under-diagnosed condition difficult to pinpoint because its symptoms vary so widely from child to child. Recently, however, new medical strides in this field have made it much more easy to diagnose and even more recently, scientists have developed a new procedure that may help doctors accurately diagnose ADHD more often.

Device performs EEG

On Monday, July 15, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was approving a new brain wave test used to identify ADHD. The New York Times explained, “The test uses an electroencephalogram, or EEG, with sensors attached to a child’s head and hooked by wires to a computer to measure brain waves. It traces different types of electrical impulses . . . and records how many times those impulses are given off each second.”

Almost 10% of adolescents diagnosed

In light of the disorder this test is attempting to diagnose, scientists have designed it to take no more than 20 minutes to complete. The brain waves they measure are theta and beta and certain combinations of them are more likely to be found in children with ADHD. ADHD is one of the most common disorders diagnosed in children and adolescents. Nearly 1 in 10 teens have it with the average age of diagnosis being 7 years old, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Typical symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and behavioral issues.

Test improves accuracy

NEBA Health of Augusta, Ga. Is the maker of the new testing device. To prove its efficacy, they presented the FDA with findings from a study they conducted of 275 children and teens whose ages ranged from 6 to 17. They then allowed an outside group of researchers to study the results to determine if they could identify those children with ADHD. The results showed that the test, when used in conjunction with normal methods of diagnosis, made doctors more accurate than when they used just the normal methods.

NEBA device to increase costs

Not everyone is excited about the new device. The New York Times summarized William E. Pelham, the director of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, saying, “Traditional methods of diagnosing the disorder are relatively accurate . . . and years of research on brain function have not added much to those methods. The NEBA device . . . would serve only to increase the cost of diagnosis.”

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