A recent study in Spain is shedding light on a diagnostic tool for Attention Deficit Disorder. Conducted by Alaitz Molano who has a PhD. in Pharmacology and a degree in Biochemistry from the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, this study looked for a definitive way to diagnose Attention Deficit Disorder.
At the present time, there is no one test for ADD/ADHD. The first step is usually noticing symptoms that are of sufficient intensity, persistence, and duration that the person stands out from the rest of his peers. This is true with both children and adults. Traits of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity cause difficulty for people with ADD/ADHD. The best place to look for diagnostic help is from a pediatric psychiatrist. This professional could work with a child or an adult. The professional whom you choose should take a history from you and at least one other person. Ratings scales might be completed. A diagnostician will look at the DSM-IV in light of your history and ratings scales. You may also need to have additional neurological tests for a diagnosis. However, that being said, there is a need for a definitive test for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Dr. Alaitz Molano in her thesis presented the results of her study. In the study, 400 children with an ADD/ADHD diagnosis provided saliva for genetic testing. There was also a control group of 400 children who had no history of psychiatric disorders. They also had saliva taken for genetic testing. The study looked for polymorphisms that the children with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder had in common.
Polymorphisms are diverse variants of genes that are found in people. The study looked at 250 different polymorphisms. Thirty-two polymorphisms were identified in the study as commonly found in children with Attention Deficit Disorder. These thirty-two polymorphisms also helped to confirm the belief that there are three different subtypes of Attention Deficit Disorder: inattention, hyperactivity, and combined type.
The diagnostic tool that is being developed is a DNA chip that would be programmed to identify these thirty-two polymorphisms that are now associated with the three subtypes of ADD/ADHD. If more polymorphisms were discovered to be associated with the disorder in the future, they could be added to the chip, too. This could be a powerful diagnostic tool. At present, since there is no one test for Attention Deficit Disorder, some doctors and members of the general public deny the existence of ADD/ADHD.
More research needs to be conducted to determine how different polymorphisms respond to various medications. There should also be more research across a larger sample and diverse racial types. However, this research from Spain gives hope for a diagnostic tool to help identify people with Attention Deficit Disorder and the subtype that they have. With better identification, perhaps treatment could be tailored to the specific subtype and polymorphism(s) that the person exhibits. Effective treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder would be a wonderful thing and alleviate a lot of daily problems for the people who live with this disorder.
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