In recent years there has been something of a conflict raging in pediatric care regarding ADHD. On the one hand, there are those who believe that the condition is underdiagnosed in children. These people feel that if a proper diagnosis were made that it would result in better social and academic outcomes for those children. On the other hand, there are people who believe that ADHD has been over-diagnosed resulting in over-medicated children. Both groups hope for better tools to properly diagnose the condition.
Researchers in Germany believe that they may have such a tool, and its all in the eyes.
The study found that the Pattern Electroretinogram (PERG), a device that measures the electrical impulses of the retina–sort of like an electrocardiogram for the eye–shows an increased level of “noise” in patients with ADHD compared to those without the condition. The researchers believe that this “noise” data may be related to the inattentiveness that is a hallmark of ADHD.
This new information could be a game changer in the diagnosis of ADHD. It would be an objective method of testing for the condition, rather than the current methods that are largely based off of behavioral observation. In addition, the PERG is a fairly simple and completely painless procedure, meaning that it could be widely used in cases of suspected ADHD. Further testing is required to confirm the findings, but this could be a huge step in answering the questions of ADHD and helping our children to have the best possible chance to succeed.