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ADHD subtypes page


Current imitations of ADHD diagnoses

Traditionally, ADHD diagnoses are based on the visual interpretation of behaviours, according to the DSM-IV, a statistical manual with a list of clinical symptoms. Once a diagnosis is made, the clinician then tries several drugs, sequentially, until the appropriate one is found (EU White Paper for ADHD). This process takes time, resources and some trial-and-error, which can frustrate the parents, who tend to be adverse to medication anyway, and may expose the children to undesired side effects. Yet, according to the NICE guidelines for ADHD (2009), a significant number of children who may be in treatment may also not benefit from medication.

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Advantages of the QEEG

Alternatively, the QEEG discriminates between different neurophysiological subtypes (or EEG-phenotypes) in children who SEEM to have similar behaviours. Such discrimination is essential. As an example, the figure above shows three ADHD subtypes obtained by database comparisons with age-matched healthy controls (a total of 5 have been found). Each of the subtypes affects the brain in different locations and is characterised by specific frequencies which correlate with specific behaviours (Clarke, et al., 2001; Loo and Makeig, 2012; Liechti et al., 2013). Not only this information is essential to guide the design of tailor-made therapeutic protocols using neurofeedback training, but it is also key to predict medication effectiveness (if that is the parent's choice) or inform about potential contra-indications (arns et al., 2008). For example, prescribing Ritalin (a stimulant) to a frontal Beta subtype is contra-indicated as it may kindle an already ‘irritated frontal cortex’, leading to unwanted side effects. Such prescription is also likely to lower the child’s levels of vigilance further. However, the doctor is unlikely to know about ADHD subtyping at the time of diagnosis.

A fast, reliable and precise diagnostic tool for ADHD

The QEEG offers a personalised strategy that quickly identifies the relevant subtype in the brain and suggests the appropriate medication, or alternative forms of treatment, that may suit each case. For this reason, QEEG subtyping is quickly becoming a speciality, based on clinical practice backed up by solid peer-reviewed research published in scientific journals in the US and in Europe.

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