Health Works: UT researchers study ADHD diagnosis
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Every year, there are more than 5.4 million children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
As that number continues to grow, researchers at the University of Texas are questioning the diagnosis process.
Dr. David L. Gilden is a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas. His researchers are using the simple beat of a drum as a tool to diagnose ADHD.
The average person can still feel a beat at about 40 beats per minute, but anything less than that, the feeling of rhythm is lost.
"You can't play music this slow," Gilden said. "Our nervous system doesn't allow us to. An ADHD person begins to have that feeling at a slightly faster rate."
Gilden says he hopes his team will be able to create a diagnostic tool using drumming and other methods to replace other current diagnostic tests, which he says aren’t effective.
"The first thing in any treatment is understanding what it is that's being treated. At this time, that's missing,” Gilden said. “People have been focusing on ADHD as if it's an attention disorder as something having to do with attention, and that's how they're treating it, but I don't think that's what it is."
He said ADHD is often over diagnosed and over treated.
"If you go to a psychologist and they tell you that you have ADHD, you want to understand what that is so you don't get some full-spectrum treatment that has nothing to do with your condition, but it's going to totally change your personality, and who knows what else that psychoactive drug is going to do," Gliden said.
Gilden says health officials need to take a step back to find out if ADHD even has anything to do with attention, or if there's another issue that's overlooked.