Physiological Patterns may Assist in Accurate ADHD Diagnosis for Young Adults

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Pennsylvania State University researchers have found that ADHD can be diagnosed more precisely by observing the subtle physiological patterns among young people.

In a recent study it was observed that young adults performing a continuous motor task faced difficulties in restraining a motor response in comparison to their non-ADHD peers.

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The participants also produced more force during the task compared to the participants without ADHD.

ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has become a common disorder among children that continues till adulthood.

Kristina A. Neely – Assistant professor, Kinesiology noted, many individuals who were labeled ADHD, displayed unique symptoms.”One of the goals of our ADHD research is to discover unique physiological signals that may characterize different subgroups of the disorder” she added.

Earlier researches that were carried out showed some individuals diagnosed with ADHD might exhibit a less control on their motor systems though the way the measurements that were carried out were not very precise.

Previously, cognitive and motor functions were evaluated using a Key-Press response, “You hit the button or you didn’t“. However, at present, said Neely,

We measure precisely how much force an individual is producing during a continuous motor task. This type of task provides us with more information than the dichotomous ‘yes/no’ response.

In a recent study, undertaken by Neely and her colleagues,  the participants involved had to produce force with the help of their index finger and thumb, in response to the visual cues, to any colour, except blue. When the color turned blue, participants were asked to withhold the force application.

Young adults with ADHD produced more force when they were told to withhold the response, in comparison to non-ADHD individuals.

The measured force also correlated with particular symptoms of ADHD.

Neely added, the usage of tools such as continuous motor tasks provides a precise and a more refined approach which helps to understand the inhibitory control in a better way in comparison to the button press activity.

The amount of force was proportional to the self-reporting of ADHD and other related symptoms such as impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity.

The parameters have to be manipulated to seek and identify the specific aspects of the motor controls that are related do particular symptoms.

Nevertheless, understanding the different types of ADHD would assist in more targeted diagnoses – which would further aid in assisting patients on a more informed therapy based on their symptom profile.

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