A team of researchers has developed a platform that allows the identification and evaluation of the degree of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents. The study was once led by researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM, in its Spanish acronym), among other institutions.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an estimated prevalence of 7.2 per cent in children and adolescents, according to the newest evaluations.
It is clinically diagnosed on the basis of the verdict of healthcare professionals the usage of the patient’s medical history, continuously supported by scales completed by caregivers and/or teachers. No diagnostic test has been developed for ADHD to date.
In a paper recently published in Mind Sciences, this team of researchers proposed the usage of a video game that children are already familiar with to identify the symptoms of ADHD and evaluate the severity of the lack of attention in each and every case.
In this game genre, the player has a running avatar, which they have got to use to keep away from different obstacles on their way. “In our game, the avatar is a raccoon that has to hop with the intention to keep away from falling into holes it encounters on its route,” explains David Delgado Gomez, the lead creator and professor at the UC3M’s Branch of Statistics.
“We hypothesise that children diagnosed with ADHD inattentive subtype will make more mistakes by omission and will hop closer to the gap because of the symptoms of inattention,” says another creator Inmaculada Penuelas Calvo, a psychiatrist at Jimenez Diaz Foundation University Hospital and professor at the UCM’s Branch of Personality, Evaluation and Clinical Psychology.
The main advantage of this study is that it allows symptoms of attention deficiency to be directly identified in order that the severity of the patient’s inattention may also be objectively assessed, say the researchers. Due to this fact, it could be used to supplement the initial diagnosis in addition to to evaluate the evolution of symptoms or even the effectiveness of remedy.
There are also other important advantages such as the truth that each and every test would only take seven minutes to total and does not require particular hardware, which reduces its cost significantly. In truth, conventional personal computers, tablets, or mobile devices can be utilized, allowing remote assessments to be done.
“Our results indicate that a shorter test could also be enough to appropriately assess the clinical symptoms of ADHD. This feature makes it especially appealing in clinical settings where there’s a lack of time,” the researchers note.
A rapid test that allows early diagnosis
The study was once carried out in collaboration with a group of 32 children, between 8 and 16 years of age, diagnosed with ADHD by the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit at the Jimenez Diaz Foundation University Hospital.
As each and every child was once taking the test, supervised by a trained professional, the appropriate caregiver completed the inattention subscale in the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and normal behaviour symptom classification scale (SWAN), which is an stock of reports from parents and caregivers developed to assess the ADHD symptoms. In the game, the raccoon has to hop over 180 holes that are grouped into 18 blocks.
“Every block is identified by the speed of the raccoon, the length of the trunk, and the width of the gap. The length of the trunk and the speed of the avatar decide the time between stimuli, which is approximately 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 seconds, while the width of the gap determines how difficult it is to hop over,” Penuelas explains.
Currently, ADHD diagnosis depends chiefly on the healthcare professionals’ experience and the teacher or caregiver’s statement skills. Several studies have decided that these assessments could also be altered, by affective factors as an example.
Due to this fact, “the development of diagnostic methods such as those proposed in this paper may favour early diagnosis and thus support these patients’ prognosis,” Gomez concludes.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed. )
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