Technology 2 min read

Researchers use Video Game to Identify ADHD Symptoms

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Assessing ADHD symptoms is not as straightforward as you may have imagined.

According to a recent evaluation, roughly 7.2 percent of children and adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, diagnosing the neurodevelopmental disorder is not straightforward.

That’s because it’s often based on the health care professional’s judgment, using the patient’s medical history. Such diagnosis also considers a scale that the patient’s caregiver or teacher must complete.

In other words, health experts have never developed a diagnostic test for ADHD.

But that could change soon. In a recent paper, a team of researchers from Madrid proposed using a traditional endless runner video game to identify ADHD symptoms.

In a statement about the project, the researchers wrote:

“Our results indicate that a shorter test may be enough to accurately assess the clinical symptoms of ADHD. This feature makes it particularly attractive in clinical settings where there is a lack of time.”

The researchers published their findings in the journal Brain Sciences.

Using a Video Game to Assess ADHD Symptoms

In the game, a player has a running avatar — a raccoon — that must avoid several obstacles along its route.

The raccoon must jump over 180 holes that the game grouped into 18 blocks. “Each block is identified by the speed of the raccoon, the length of the trunk, and the width of the hole,” explained the researchers.

The length of the trunk and avatar’s speed influences the time between stimuli — about 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 seconds. On the other hand, the hole’s width determines how difficult it is to jump over.

Study author and psychiatrist at the Jiménez Díaz Foundation University Hospital, Inmaculada Peñuelas Calvo explained:

“We hypothesize that children diagnosed with ADHD inattentive subtype will make more mistakes by omission and will jump closer to the hole as a result of the symptoms of inattention.”

The study’s primary benefit is that it allows health professionals to identify attention deficit symptoms quickly.

Along with supplementing the initial ADHD diagnosis, the video game can help assess how the symptoms evolve. The researchers also believe that it could indicate a treatment’s effectiveness.

Read More: A Simple Telecommuting Guide for Adults with ADHD

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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