Dr. Itai Berger, Senior Neurologist in the Neuropediatric Unit at the Hadassah Medical Center, in conjunction with Neurotech Solutions Ltd. of Israel, has created a definitive test for diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Entitled “The Continuous Performance Functions Test” (CPF), the new diagnostic computer tool, which includes sounds and images, measures attention span, impulsivity, hyperactivity, reaction time, and all combinations of these characteristics. It enables doctors to categorize individuals’ problems into 12 different subtypes of attention deficit disorder.
ADHD, although among the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children, is often very difficult to diagnose. The standard method of testing is the American “Test of Variables of Attention.” This test, however, depends on the child cooperating with the tester, which is frequently difficult to achieve. If physicians give the child Ritalin or other medications to treat the ADHD and the diagnosis is incorrect, the child can suffer further problems. The CPF, in contrast, relies on the child responding to visual stimuli on a computer screen and produces “a very exact attention profile,” Dr. Berger relates. In addition, he says, “The stimuli and tasks are age appropriate, so the test can even assess an adult suspected of having ADHD. When Dr. Berger and his colleagues administered the test to 58 children, ages 6-12, where 45 had been diagnosed with ADHD and 13 were a control group, the test accurately differentiated between the children who had been diagnosed previously with ADHD and those who had not. Dr. Berger notes, however, that research is continuing to further refine the test.