A new way to diagnose ADHD may be in the near future, as researchers from Tel Aviv University have determined involuntary eye movements accurately reflect the presence of ADHD. “We had two objectives going into this research,” said Moshe Fried, Ph.D., who as an adult himself was diagnosed with ADHD. “The first was to provide a new diagnostic tool for ADHD, and the second was to test whether ADHD medication really works — and we found that it does.”
For the study, researchers tracked the eye movements of two groups of 22 adults taking an ADHD diagnostic computer test called the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA). The first group, who had all been diagnosed with ADHD, initially took the test un-medicated and then took it again under the influence of methylphenidate, medication for ADHD. The second group was used as a control, as none of the participants had been diagnosed with ADHD.
The researchers found a direct correlation between ADHD and the inability to suppress eye movement in the anticipation of visual stimuli. In addition, researchers found that participants taking methylphenidate showed improvement in the suppression of eye movements.
“This test is affordable and accessible, rendering it a practical and foolproof tool for medical professionals,” said Fried. “With other tests, you can slip up, make ‘mistakes’ — intentionally or not. But our test cannot be fooled. Eye movements tracked in this test are involuntary, so they constitute a sound physiological marker of ADHD.”