Healthcheck: New test for ADHD

August 23, 2009 9:49:16 AM PDT
Naturally, parents want their kids to do their best in school.But for some children, ADHD - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - can be a big obstacle.

The good news is a new test can provide more information on how ADHD may be affecting your kids.

8-year-old Owen is a bright, energetic boy. Although he seemed to be doing well in school, his mother thought he was showing signs of ADHD, and could be doing better.

"When I came and visited the classroom, I felt like that wasn't the best he had to offer," said Owen's mom Amy Thomson Jacobs.

Dr. Theresa Cerulli used a clinical interview - comprehensive questioning - to rule out other causes for Owen's learning problems.

For years, that's been the gold standard for diagnosing ADHD. However, parents often want more information.

"To them, the clinical interview seems like we're just talking, how do you make a diagnosis from talking?" Said Dr. Cerulli.

A new computerized test called "Quotient" can objectively measure the core symptoms of ADHD.

To do the test, Owen had to pay attention, and control his impulses, while an infrared camera recorded subtle body movements.

When the test was over, Dr. Cerulli got the results from the Quotient website, and printed out a report for Owen's mom.

"It was huge relief, actually, because you can see it on the paper, and you can say, Okay, yes, I do see that," Jacobs said.

There are 2 versions of the Quotient test - a 15-minute test for children, and a 20 minute test for adults.

It has been available for about a year, and is gradually making its way into doctors' offices.

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