FDA Approves New ADHD Test

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new medical device to help assess attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for youngsters between 6 to 17. But the new ADHD test does not eliminate the need for a careful clinical assessment by a physician, psychologist or other licensed professional.

Focusing on EEG (electroencephalogram) patterns, this is the first such unit based on brain function the federal agency has approved as an ADHD diagnostic tool.

There has been a lot of controversy among healthcare professionals regarding how much clinicians can rely on EEG patterns to help assess children and adolescents. While research shows that EEG patterns of youngsters with ADHD are generally somewhat different, these differences are not reliable enough to serve as the sole basis for diagnosis, according to several recent studies.

Given concerns about the steady increase in diagnoses of the disorder among children and adolescents, it would be wonderful if clinicians had an objective ADHD test to help make a diagnosis. Finding an objective diagnostic test that is accurate, sensitive and specific has been a “holy grail” for clinicians and researchers for some time.

Doctors and specialists haven’t widely accepted any other FDA-approved ADHD test, so it is unclear how many will accept this new one. It is doubtful it will be as accurate and reliable as clinicians and families would want.

Early detection and intervention can reduce the severity of ADHD symptoms. Reach out to the development and behavioral pediatric specialists at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York to see how we can help your family.

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