3D Brain Scans Could Improve ADHD Diagnoses

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Three-dimensional (3D) brain scans could become more widely used in diagnosing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) after researchers found that it was able to achieve a clearer diagnosis compared to traditional two-dimensional (2D) scans.

Howard Schneider, MD, a psychotherapist in private practice in Toronto, Canada, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of 427 patients, comparing the sensitivity for predicting ADHD. Sensitivity was based on the confidence interval of clinicians regarding the “sureness” of their diagnosis, and the brain scans.

3D scans gave a sensitivity of 83% to predict an ADHD diagnosis, compared to 2D scans having a sensitivity of just 10%, the researchers reported in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 3D renderings more clearly showed blood flow and activity levels in the brain, requiring less skill from physicians to understand what they saw. Additionally, 3D image clarity provided a stronger signal of patterns indicative of ADHD.

“These findings indicate that a much stronger signal is obtained when the three-dimensional thresholded SPECT scan is performed rather than the conventional SPECT scan in detecting attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and suggest similar results may be obtained for other psychiatric disorders,” the researchers concluded.

3D Brain Scans Could Improve ADHD Diagnoses
3D Brain Scans Could Improve ADHD Diagnoses

New research, published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, examined the use of three-dimensional brain imaging as a tool for diagnosing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in place of typical two-dimensional scans. The researchers retrospectively analyzed the diagnosis of 427 patients, and compared the sensitivity for predicting ADHD. Their sensitivity rating was calculated based on the confidence interval of physicians regarding their “sureness” of the diagnosis, and the specificity of the brain scans.

The research found that 3D SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography) imaging made it easier to achieve a definite ADHD diagnosis when compared to traditional 2D SPECT scans. 3D scans gave a sensitivity of 83% to predict ADHD diagnosis, while 2D scans gave a sensitivity of only 10%.

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