Recent Science News About ADHD

In a blog post earlier this year we wrote about a then newly approved by the FDA diagnostic test for ADHD that uses EEG technology.  Recent related news stories announcing both an additional discovery using the aforementioned technology, and a completely new discovery utilizing MRI technology caught our attention, so we are passing that information along to you.

Further Uses of EEG Technology

To understand the potential significance of the first discovery, it is important to recall that ADHD diagnoses currently fall into one of three subtypes: ADHD (Hyperactive Type), ADHD (Inattentive Type) and ADHD (Combined Type).

Unlike the previously written about test that uses the ratio of theta and beta brain waves as a measure, the new discovery examines alpha and beta brain waves.  During a computer-based visual-motor task, it was observed that in children between the ages of 12 and 17, that there are differing patterns in the aforementioned brain waves that differentiate the Inattentive and Combined subtypes of ADHD from one another and from a control group with no diagnosis of the disorder.

Currently accepted treatments of the disorder do not differentiate between the subtypes.  Thus, the above result is significant in that it may lead to more finely targeted treatments depending on subtype and may also lead to a potential biomarker to evaluate the efficacy of said treatments.

Magnetic Field Correlation and Brain Iron

A second scientific discovery regarding ADHD utilizes a form of MRI technology, MFC (Magnetic Field Correlation), to non-invasively measure the level of iron in the brain.  The original study sought to measure brain iron as a proxy for dopamine (iron is required for dopamine synthesis in the brain).  Dopamine is believed to play a role in ADHD pathology.  Researchers discovered that in previously unmedicated subjects with an ADHD diagnosis, the level of brain iron was measurably lower than in both medicated subjects possessing a diagnosis and a control group with no diagnosis.

MFC’s ability to detect lower levels of brain iron may lead to improved ADHD diagnosis and treatments.  Its non-invasive nature is especially important when dealing with younger segments of the population.

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