ADHD is commonly diagnosed condition among adults and children. Many people feel that it is overly diagnosed, as legions of exasperated parents seek out easy ways to deal with difficult children, and scatter brained adults want a cure for bad habits and chaotic lives. The drug companies have certainly made a nice profit off of Ritalin and its multitudes of spin-offs, and psychiatrists easily hand over prescriptions after assessing patients with only a brief questionnaire. Anyone with two brain cells and a fondness for methylphenidate can score this drug, without having ADHD.
…the Quotient can determine with 94% accuracy if someone does not have ADHD.
That may be changing, however, and the ADHD clinic at Scott & White’s North Austin location has implemented a new aid in the assessment process. Called the Quotient, it is a technology-based test that measures motion and discrepancies in attention. The patient sits down in front of a computer screen while wearing infrared reflectors attached to straps on the head and both legs. These reflectors are lined up with a motion tracking system, which will record and measure movement as the patient is given a series of instructions on how to respond to specific images. This measures the subjects’ ability to focus and pay attention over a period of time, ranging from 15 to 20 minutes. The data is then uploaded to the BioBehavioral Diagnostic Server, which will accurately interpret the results. The Quotient is also designed to monitor progress and regression throughout the patients’ treatment.
This new tool is incredibly useful because of its objectivity. The old interview method relies solely on the subjective view and feelings of the patient. If the patient is an adult, they can respond however they choose to get their desired result. Now, that may be more difficult, as the Quotient can determine with 94% accuracy if someone does not have ADHD. For recreational drug users and delinquent parents, the door to easy fixes might be closing.
For people that do suffer from ADHD, it can have serious and lasting consequences. Thanks to this new, objective assessment, those in need of better and more accurate treatment will be the focus here.
Story by Anna Dupuy