Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder. It occurs in childhood and involves a persistent pattern of impulsivity and inattention. The effects of the disease are worse in kids than in adults. 

ADHD affects around 5 to 7 percent of children and adolescents globally. It is one of the most thought-provoking neurological illnesses that affect the conduct and behavior of children. It not only harms them but also has an impact on their families, relatives, and community. 

Healthcare providers around the world are following the guidelines provided by American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostics. First, it allows detecting the illness. Then, after the confirmation of diagnosis, it’s easier to initiate treatment. 

Many people question if a brain MRI can help in diagnosing ADHD or not. Its diagnosis has always been challenging. Hence, the doctors rely on an assessment of the symptoms and behavioral conditions of the patients. 

Studies prove that even the imaging modalities have failed to diagnose ADHD accurately. Therefore, some believe that open MRI and wide-bore MRI are helpful. However, the outcomes are not very 100% perfect and consistent. 

Nevertheless, the continuous performance task helps in diagnosing the clinician’s condition. So, the doctors can use MRI imaging along with this for the evaluation. 

Difficulties in Diagnosing ADHD 

For years, the detection and treatment of ADHD have been a source of debate. The medical field, authorities, and parents are criticizing the methods used for the detection. Some believe that it’s an over-diagnosed and over-treated condition, while some have opposing views. 

The process of diagnosing ADHD in a child involves focusing on the following symptoms:

  • Nervousness.
  • Dejection. 
  • Sleep syndromes. 
  • Types of learning incapacities. 

For the identification of ADHD in adults, the specialists emphasize the subsequent indications:

  • Difficulties in focusing on tasks and activities. 
  • Short temper. 
  • Precipitateness. 
  • Ineffective time management skills. 
  • Difficulties in arranging and organizing. 
  • Problems in multitasking. 
  • A lower level of tolerance. 
  • Challenges in coping with stress. 

ADHD is a developmental disorder. If you are worried about your child, you must instantaneously consult a General Physician. They can refer to a child specialist or child psychiatrist. 

Despite the constantly increasing prevalence of ADHD, there are no tests available for its diagnosis. Therefore, a detailed assessment technique aids the analysis. It involves an evaluation of the availability of symptoms and their severity. 

Doctors focus on the history of the behavior of the individual (child or adult). They also focus on assessing if the patient experienced any traumatic event. 

The exact source of the illness is yet unidentified. However, the health researchers have presented some leading theories that indicate the following reasons:

  • Genetics. 
  • Drugs. 
  • Chronic exposure. 
  • Neurophysiology. 
  • Lack of early attachment. 

The analysis is perplexing as there aren’t any particular trials for this disorder. For decades, doctors have been relying on subjective evaluations. Finally, however, some physicians and experts are using brain MRI to identify ADHD disorders. 

How Can a Brain MRI Help in Diagnosing ADHD?

Radiologists are using modern technology to enhance their ability to detect and diagnose ADHD. For example, the deep learning-aided MRI helps in identifying neurological disorders. The MRI imaging creates detailed maps of the connecting nodes in the network of the brain. 

The brain MRI helps in differentiating the ADHD patients. It also allows differentiating the subtypes of ADHD. 

In recent years, brain MRI has become an experimental tool. It supports in identifying ADHD, according to inquiries. In 2017, some studies revealed that MRI scans of patients with ADHD and without ADHD were different. 

For the assessment, the medical studies indicate that people with ADHD have a smaller brain volume according to the MRI scans. 

In the case of children, doctors need to pay attention to understanding the prenatal period. During this phase, extensive brain development occurs. Therefore, using MRI scans can help identify and understand the short-term effects of the neurological disorder. 

Overall, different radiologists and laboratories are offering brain MRI facilities. The biological tests facilitate the detection of ADHD along with other clinical assessments.

Apart from the traditional diagnostic techniques that involve psychological and physical evaluations, brain MRI is also helpful. It reflects the alterations in the different regions of the brain of patients. The MRI scan also helps in differentiating between the types of ADHD in children and adults. 

According to medical research, there are three primary subtypes of ADHD. These are below:

  • Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive. 
  • Predominantly inattentive. 
  • Combined type. 

All the types have a different level of impact on the mind and behavior. Therefore, it’s essential to differentiate and detect the type of ADHD. MRI scans are beneficial in this context. Once the diagnosis is complete and the type of ADHD is known, it’s better to inform the parents immediately. 

A Functional MRI and Comparison of Brain Functions

ADHD is a long-term condition. It requires enduring treatment. For the diagnosis, it’s essential to compare the brain’s functionality of a person with ADHD to a healthy brain. 

The open MRI and wide-bore MRI helps in making sense of the brain activity. 

The reports of MRI scan helps in detecting the abnormalities in the functional and structural connectivity. Overall, it helps doctors in examining the brain’s network. 

Researchers are yet to figure out the perfect or best pattern in brain scans in the long run. 

In the brain MRI of adolescents with ADHD, the doctors identify grey matter as patterns. Thus, it confirms the neurological disorder. Additionally, the Mental Health Institute proves that some sections of a person’s brain with ADHD mature slower, comparatively. 

The theory reflects that the frontal lobe of patients with ADHD develops slower. But, do you know what this part of the brain is responsible for? You can find the functions of the frontal lobe below:

  • Concentration
  • Attention
  • Impulse control
  • Planning

The American Health Institutes state the brain scans are non-invasive. It helps in identifying the risks of ADHD in children. If the doctors are doubtful or identify any symptoms, they can opt for an MRI scan and other assessment techniques. 

Overall, the MRI-based diagnosis is beneficial in implementing early interventions for patients with ADHD. 

The doctors believe that early detection can help in reducing the risk and impact of the disorder. It enhances the overall prediction of neurodevelopmental outcomes too. So if there are any issues according to the scan, it’s better to give attention accordingly. 

Final Thoughts 

MRI cannot yet be a diagnostic tool for ADHD. It helps in the assessment of the symptoms and also facilitates the diagnosis. However, the doctors cannot rely on the MRI reports alone. They need to conduct a behavioral analysis of the patient. It’s common in the case of children as well as adults. 

The bottom line is that there is no direct test for ADHD identification. You cannot rely on a throat swab or a blood test. For the diagnosis, the doctors and parents need to conduct a behavioral analysis. For example, they must use a checklist to find out if the child has trouble concentrating. 

Different radiologists and laboratories are offering open MRI and wide-bore MRI for the detection of ADHD. Of course, it’s not the ultimate solution. However, it can help in confirming the disorder. 

Overall, the MRI enables the commencement of the treatment rendering to the detection in patients.


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