FDA Approves Brainwave Device for Diagnosing ADHD

By: Taylor


The FDA has approved a brainwave-measuring device to help diagnose kids with ADHD, a first for the disorder. The device detects two different types of brainwaves, theta and beta, and how frequently they occur. Kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have more theta than beta brainwaves, compared to kids without ADHD. According to experts the device can be used in patients between the ages of 6 and 17 as part of a complete psychological examination to either help confirm an ADHD diagnosis or bolster a doctor’s decision that more testing for ADHD or other disorders is needed.

The FDA approved the device, called the Neuropsychiatric Electroencephalogram-Based Assessment Aid or NEBA, for use with a full medical exam. In a statement, the director of the agency’s Office of Device Evaluation, Christy Foreman, emphasized that the device has to work with other clinical measures. The safety and efficacy of the device was established in a study among 275 kids with attention problems. The study, which the FDA didn’t make public, found that adding a 20-minute NEBA test to standard diagnostic procedures helped doctors diagnose ADHD more accurately.

ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders in the U.S., according to the FDA. Nine percent of adolescents have it. On average, kids are first diagnosed at age 7.

One clinical psychologist worried that the test would make diagnoses more expensive, without making them much more accurate. Without the FDA’s study data, it’s difficult to know exactly how much better a NEBA-aided diagnosis is compared with a standard diagnosis. Before NEBA’s approval, doctors generally used brainwave measures to diagnose seizures, head injuries and tumors.

While detailing about the approved device Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental behavioral pediatrics at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New says “for clinicians and researchers interested in ADHD, it’s an objective diagnostic test that is accurate, sensitive and specific. “It has been one of the ‘holy grails’ which has long been sought”

However, he added, it is doubtful that this EEG test newly approved by the FDA will be as accurate and reliable as clinicians and families would ideally want.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a common childhood disorder. Nine percent of American teens have ADHD and the average age of diagnosis is 7, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Symptoms of ADHD include

Inattention
Hyperactivity
Impulsivity
Behavioral problems
Some of the Treatments for ADHD include

Medication
Behavioral modifications and therapy
Psychological Therapy
Psych-social Therapy
What causes ADHD?

No one knows for sure. ADHD probably comes from a combination of things. Some possibilities are:

Certain brain injuries
Genes, because the disorder sometimes runs in families
Smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Food additives like artificial coloring, which might make hyperactivity worse.
Symptoms of ADHD

Switch too quickly from one activity to the next
Lose toys, books, and school supplies often
Daydream too much
Get distracted easily and forget things often
Talk nonstop and interrupt people
Touch and play with everything they see
Have trouble controlling their emotions

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