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Medicine Science

Involuntary Eye Movement May Provide Definitive Diagnosis of ADHD 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the either-that-or-a-massive-brain-hemmorhage dept.
Zothecula writes: If a child who's simply very active is mistakenly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), he can end up on pharmaceuticals such as Ritalin unnecessarily. The problem is, it can be quite difficult to determine if someone actually has ADHD, and misdiagnoses are common. Now, however, researchers from Tel Aviv University have announced that analyzing a patient's eye movements may be the key. "The researchers found a direct correlation between ADHD and the inability to suppress eye movement in the anticipation of visual stimuli. The research also reflected improved performance by participants taking methylphenidate, which normalized the suppression of involuntary eye movements to the average level of the control group."
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Involuntary Eye Movement May Provide Definitive Diagnosis of ADHD

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  • [citation needed] (Score:4, Interesting)

    by seebs (15766) on Friday August 15, 2014 @02:16PM (#47680373) Homepage

    I'd be interested in the basis for the claim about misdiagnosis being "common". I have known a number of people with ADHD who were misdiagnosed with something else. I don't think I've ever met anyone who got a misdiagnosis of not having ADHD.

    The quality of the anti-ADHD-diagnosis rants can be pretty much summed up by the fact that people are claiming that a stimulant drug which makes people twitchy is going to "drug people into zombified submission". It really is that blatantly stupid; there is nothing remotely like "zombified submission" on the table.

  • Stop and think.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @03:02PM (#47680805)

    The premise that over-diagnosis is a systemic problem is common, and has been propagated by the media, with very little actual scientific proof behind it.

    The national average is that 7.8% of children are diagnosed with ADHD and somewhere around half (depending on where you live) get prescribed medication. So the idea that we are diagnosing a whole generation of kids as having ADHD is ridiculous. The idea that we have a culture of medicating our kids unnecessarily is also ridiculous. The statistics simply don't bear this out. The CDC did a study that has been dramatically misinterpreted to create this perception.

    Here is the big article that most people reference when they say that there is a plague of over-diagnosing ADHD.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/health/more-diagnoses-of-hyperactivity-causing-concern.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

    First, they only reference ADHD's increase in the CDC study, when it wasn't the only one, nor was it the largest disorder having an increase in diagnosis. It was a 3% increase.

    Second, there are three corrections, only mentioned at the very bottom that change facts stated in the study. That should tell you something right there.

    Third, and increase is an increase, but they fill in the blanks as to the cause of the increase. My favorite is the change in the definition of ADHD, some media and researchers pose that the changing definition of ADHD has weakened its diagnostic criteria so it is going to be more common. But the DMS IV, the standard psych diagnostic manual in the U.S. hasn't had a change for ADHD in 20 years and the DSM V wasn't out yet, or not long enough to have an effect.

    Yes, ADHD diagnosis have increased, and yes so has the rate of medication being prescribed. But at the same rate, on average (some less, some more) than other childhood disorders. Additionally, the study merely referenced the increase in the number of diagnosis and prescription, not the amount of misdiagnosis or anything like that. The only studies that I know of that did that were severely flawed. One did a survey where they told the sample of Psychiatrists to make a diagnosis of a selection of cases, some which did not show all of the symptoms for ADHD and some did. But they told them to make a diagnosis, already biasing those participating towards making some diagnosis rather than none at all. The other was a world wide study that compared the DSM IV diagnostic guide to the cases that were diagnosed, the problem is much of the world doesn't use the DSM IV but a different resource entirely. So they were judging those diagnosing using and apples and oranges measuring stick.

    I of course, am not saying it never happens, clearly misdiagnosis does happen. And it may be more common with ADHD than with some other disorders. That could be due to big pharma wanting to schill pills, or it could be due to the very visible and noticeable nature of ADHD and it's commonality, meaning just the shear numbers increase the chances. It could be that ADHD has some similarities to behavior that is not ideal but not to the level of a disorder. It could be it is no worse than other cases of misdiagnosis. And to my mind, more likely, if it is happening more than other disorders, is because we need better diagnostics, which is what this research is about. No one is going to say that one test like this is the only thing needed to make such a diagnostic, not really. That is headline grabbing garbage that will never make it into a real serious clinical environment. No diagnostic manual is going to recommend a diagnosis based on one symptom or type of behavior, period.

    bluefoxlucid makes some good anecdotal points, but they are anecdotal, meaning they are one specific case, specific to that person. You cannot extrapolate anything out of it to the general populace. They had bad reactions to medicine, which unfortunately happens. I can't be used to make any judgements about the whole, however. Nor can it give us any insight into the usefulness of

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @03:53PM (#47681233)

    As someone recently diagnosed, my experience has never been one of distraction, per se. I would force myself to sit at my desk and stare at a project. I might read an article every now and then, but I was never constantly going back and forth. My problem was actually forcing my brain to work on the task when it wasn't particularly interesting. If the task took no concentration it was much easier. If the task was highly stimulating (I.e. learning lots of new stuff) eventually I'd slip into "the zone". But for most stuff it was a daily struggle.

    For 15 years I worked 60+ hour weeks (sometimes 80+), partly because I had to compensate with time for my inability to focus on work.

    I thought I was just undisciplined. But in any event meds changed my life completely. Now I can work an 8 hour day, and while its sometimes still a struggle I don't feel like a failure at the end of the day. (A psychotherapist thought my anxiety about work was what kept me from focusing. But I kept telling her it was the other way around. Once I met a psychiatrist he understood immediately and even had anecdotes about a friend from medical school who exhibited my behavior.)

    For anybody in my position, don't think you're stupid or it's your fault. I have an IQ in the 99.99th percentile, actually managed to fumble through a good law school, and I'm a well paid software engineer. In retrospect my "issue" helped make me who I am. It explains, at least in part, my varied interests and ability to deeply focus on stimulating activities. But in our culture it began to make my life miserable, especially in middle adulthood.

    I used to be skeptical about ADHD. The list of symptoms reads like a horoscope; that is, everybody can identify. But frankly I don't care about any of that anymore. Psychiatry may still be in the stone age in many regards, but I'm doing much better now. So much about my life, even as a kid, makes much more sense now. I had invented all kinds of explanations for why I was the kind of student, worker, husband what I am. But in retrospect ADHD is such a much more elegant explanation.

    I'm also a life-long stutter, which also fits the pattern. But ironically my stuttering helped keep me more reserved than the stereotypical ADHD kid or adult. To not stutter I always have to carefully and deliverstely think through what I want to say aloud, which mitigates my tendency to interrupt others or speak in a hyperactive manner.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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