A screening aid for ADHD in children

Introducing Katla

KATLA helps clinicians – and to a certain extent parents/caregivers – to understand features of ADHD that may be present in an EEG recording. Katla is thus an objective marker that enhances the accuracy of ADHD diagnosis in young people (10-16 yrs), thereby providing added reassurance for families.

The study of brain maturation is an important aspect of the diagnostic evaluation of developmental disorders such as ADHD as significant changes in power spectral frequencies occur during the development of the cerebral cortex in children. An EEG is able to record the electrical activity in the cerebral cortex and is sensitive to metabolic activity in the brain.

The Katla ADHD Index

The ADHD Index indicates whether or not an individual´s EEG resembles that of individuals diagnosed with ADHD (according to DSM-IV).

Katla ADHD-Index
Katla ADHD-Index

The yellow area represents subjects from the Katla database diagnosed with ADHD, while the blue area represents control subjects with no diagnosis of ADHD. In the individual Katla analysis report, the child's Katla ADHD index is plotted against the child's age.

A result in the blue region indicates that the subject's EEG is within the normal range of the ADHD rating scale and it is unlikely that the subject has ADHD. Results in the yellow region indicate that the patient's EEG is consistent with ADHD. For the cohort used to validate the ADHD index, specificity was 77% and sensitivity 73%.

  • EEG studies on children which show differences in brain activity and synchronization between brain areas in children with ADHD.
  • MRI research supports the EEG studies by showing abnormalities in the frontal cortex and some subcortical areas.
  • Recent research on the neurobiological basis of ADHD focuses more on connectivity between several neurons in the brain rather than the regional differences, making EEG a suitable and sensitive tool for studying ADHD.

An easy-to-use electrophysiological marker such as Katla is a welcome advance in terms of supporting the diagnosis of ADHD and possibly other mental and develop- mental disorders. Increased accuracy and quality of the diagnosis increases the likelihood of a correct diagnosis and thereby correct treatment for the patient.

Ólafur Guðmundsson

Head of Child- and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Hospital of Iceland

Increasing understanding

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common developmental disorder in school-age children. Often undetected or misunderstood, it can have a huge impact on children, their families and the wider community. Questions of whether ADHD remits in adulthood, whether it is caused by genes or environment, and how it should be treated, remain the subjects of widespread discussion and some controversy.

Until now, ADHD has been measured by the presentation of behavioural patterns and characteristics, using questionnaires and often highly subjective information provided by close observers of the child’s behaviour. When a diagnosis is made, the use of pharmaceutical interventions is often resisted by patients, parents and caregivers, who may have concerns about the reaction to such drugs. Negative physiological aspects and the stigma of taking medication to manage behaviour can sometimes lead to poor compliance.

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