ADHD Can Be Diagnosed By Tracking Eye Movements

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ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a serious disorder that is common in people of all ages, but more commonly affects children and young adults. The symptoms of ADHD include hyperactivity, racing thoughts and trouble paying attention or concentrating.

There is no psychological way to diagnose the disorder. Doctors use several different tests and assessments to diagnose people with ADHD, but a new study shows that there may be another method that works just as well.

The study was conducted by Tel Aviv University and published in Vision Research. It shows that involuntary eye movements accurately reflect the presence of ADHD, as well as the benefits of stimulants used to treat the disorder.

“We had two objectives going into this research,” said Moshe Fried, Ph.D., who as an adult was himself diagnosed with ADHD.

“The first was to provide a new diagnostic tool for ADHD, and the second was to test whether ADHD medication really works — and we found that it does. There was a significant difference between the two groups, and between the two sets of tests taken by ADHD participants un-medicated and later medicated.”

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed and misdiagnosed disorder among children in the United States. Experts have long hoped for a better way to diagnose the disorder and there have been many other studies conducted to try to find better methods.

The new study shows a direct correlation between ADHD and the inability to suppress eye movement in the anticipation of visual stimuli. Researchers say that this new method could be the best available to help doctors diagnose the disorder.

“This test is affordable and accessible, rendering it a practical and foolproof tool for medical professionals,” said Fried.

“With other tests, you can slip up, make ‘mistakes’ — intentionally or not. But our test cannot be fooled. Eye movements tracked in this test are involuntary, so they constitute a sound physiological marker of ADHD. Our study also reflected that methylphenidate does work. It is certainly not a placebo, as some have suggested.”

The researchers are continuing their study on a larger group of people in hopes of learning more about the correlation between eye movement and ADHD.

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