08:47am Sunday 24 September 2017

A new method to make an early diagnosis of ADHD has been developed


These methods allow analysing and making an early diagnosis of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by symptoms of inattentiveness, impulsivity or over-activity. It is one of the most common psychiatric disorders of childhood; it affects about 5-10 % of children and 4.4 % adults. In Europe, there are more than 30 million adults who suffer from ADHD.

The project, developed within a collaboration research agreement on medical images, is led by Dr Laura Igual, from the group Medical Image Analysis (MIA), at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Analysis of the University of Barcelona and the CVC; together with the doctors Oscar Vilarroya and Joan Carles Soliva, from the Research Group on Cognitive Neuroscience (URNC) at the Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and the Neuroimaging Research Group of the IMIM Foundation. The researchers have defined and developed some automatic methods of localization and segmentation, based on computer vision, medical image analysis and automatic learning, which allow to get a characterization of the morphology of the striate cortex in neuroimaging in a quicker and more precise manner.

The analysis of the anomalies of the striate cortex, the part of the occipital lobe of the cerebral cortex, is essential for the study of ADHD. Mainly, it is developed through non-invasive imaging techniques such as the structural magnetic resonance. This analysis can be performed manually by experts in neuroimaging. However, this methodology is much slower, so the development of automatic methods in order to characterize in a precise manner the main brain structures is critical to get a medical diagnosis; this allows increasing speed, objectivity and getting methods which can be applied to a great number of data.

This finding makes possible to develop an early diagnosis of ADHD and to apply to the patient a directed therapy. Moreover, it is hoped that in a future it helps to understand deeply the causes and the development of this disease.

Universitat de Barcelona

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