The news: Detecting Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may come in the blink of an eye. Quite literally.
A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that an "inability to suppress eye movement" in reaction to visual stimuli directly correlates to having ADHD.
The background: More and more people are diagnosed with ADHD each year. And while 11% of American children are affected by the condition, diagnosing it remains an imprecise science. This is troubling because a misdiagnosed child could be overmedicated.
According to the American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU), the study's researchers took two groups of 22 adult participants — one diagnosed with ADHD and one serving as the control — and conducted exercises designed to track involuntary eye movement.
The result: The researchers found "a direct correlation between ADHD and the inability to suppress eye movement in the anticipation of visual stimuli," reports AFTAU.
"This test is affordable and accessible, rendering it a practical and foolproof tool for medical professionals," Dr. Moshe Fried, one of the lead researchers, told the organization. "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."
The study also found that Ritalin, the commonly prescribed drug for ADHD, had a positive effect on the participants.
Still, while media outlets have been quick to tout Tel Aviv University's findings as a "foolproof" discovery, it would be hasty to assume so. Large-scale trials are now being planned to see whether the study's findings can be replicated among larger samples. The initial results have been pretty exciting so far, but it will be a while before the eye test can indeed be proven to be "foolproof."