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Computer Simulations Add To Attention Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

by Karishma Abhishek on January 1, 2021 at 5:31 PM
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Computer Simulations Add To Attention Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Computer simulations may be an additional tool to gauge the presence, and severity of behavioral problems in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as per a study by researchers at Ohio State University, published in the journal Psychological Bulletin.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by abnormal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. Generally there are no diagnostic tests for ADHD or similar mental health problems. Hence the diagnosis relies upon patient's medical history, and scaling methods.

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Although the ADHD symptoms like selective attention, poor working memory, altered time perception, difficulties in maintaining attention, and impulsive behavior are identified by cognitive testing, they often fail to capture the complexity of symptoms.

Computer simulations

Computational psychiatry - comparing a computer-simulated model of normal brain processes to dysfunctional processes observed in tests, can enhance the diagnosis of ADHD. Thus the research team reviewed 50 studies of cognitive tests for ADHD and delineated three common types of computational models to supplement the cognitive tests.
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"We can use models to simulate the decision process and see how decision-making happens over time - and do a better job of figuring out why children with ADHD take longer to make decisions," says Nadja Ging-Jehli, lead author of the review and a graduate student in psychology at Ohio State.

This defective decision making in ADHD may cause problems when it comes to real life scenarios where ADHD patients are typically slower to "start driving" after green signal appears in the traffic signal, as compared to normal counterparts.

Reasons can be varied from day dreaming to anxiety. And these broad distributions of reactions are captured by computer modelling to add more useful information. Hence cognitive tests should be able to gauge vivid social and cognitive characteristics for diagnosis.

"However, cognitive testing and computational modelling should not be seen as an attempt to replace existing clinical interviews and questionnaire-based procedures, but as complements that add value by providing new information", says Nadja Ging-Jehli.

Thus the combination of cognitive testing with physiological tests - especially eye-tracking and EEGs that record electrical activity in the brain - could provide powerful objective and quantifiable data to make the diagnosis more reliable and help clinicians better predict which medicines would be most effective.

The study emphasizes the lack of standardization in existing methods for the diagnosis of ADHD. Therefore, the use of computer simulations aids in early diagnosis of ADHD thereby improving the treatment outcomes.

Source: Medindia
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