Virtual Conference
Mental Health 2022

Geir Ogrim

Østfold Hospital Trust, Norway

Title: Biomarker support for ADHD diagnosis based on Event Related Potentials and scores from an attention test


ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder with a prevalence of 3-5% of school aged children in Norway. The diagnosis is based on developmental history, at least 6 of 9 symptoms of inattention and / or 6 of 9 symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity. The symptoms must lead to significant impairments in daily living and should not be explained better by another disorder. The problem with the diagnosis is that the symptoms are normal behavior; only too much or too little compared with typically developing children (TDC). Much subjectivity is involved; from the informant and the professionals interpreting the information. ADHD is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder, but no brain based measures are included in the criteria.
In our research we have used a cued visual go/nogo task generating behavioral attention scores and Event Related Potential (ERPs). We have computed a diagnostic index by combing measures that differentiate significantly, with at least a moderate effect size, between children (9-12 years) with ADHD and a matched group of TDC. For such a biomarker to be clinically useful the effect size (Cohen’s d) should be at least 0.8. In our study (61 ADHD, 67 TDC) d was 1.47. Applied to an independent sample (N= 20 + 21) d was 3.03.
In clinic we use this method as a supplement to standard procedures, underscoring the word supplement. This one hour examination also generates hypotheses about cognitive and emotional function