Electroencephalography as a clinical tool for diagnosing and monitoring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a cross-sectional study.

Halla Helgadóttir, Ólafur Ó Gudmundsson, Gísli Baldursson, Páll Magnússon, Nicolas Blin, Berglind Brynjólfsdóttir, Ásdís Emilsdóttir, Gudrún B Gudmundsdóttir, Málfrídur Lorange, Paula K Newman, Gísli H Jóhannesson, Kristinn Johnsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to develop and test, for the first time, a multivariate diagnostic classifier of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) based on EEG coherence measures and chronological age.
The participants were recruited in two specialised centres and three schools in Reykjavik.
The data are from a large cross-sectional cohort of 310 patients with ADHD and 351 controls, covering an age range from 5.8 to 14 years. ADHD was diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition (DSM-IV) criteria using the K-SADS-PL semistructured interview. Participants in the control group were reported to be free of any mental or developmental disorders by their parents and had a score of less than 1.5 SDs above the age-appropriate norm on the ADHD Rating Scale-IV. Other than moderate or severe intellectual disability, no additional exclusion criteria were applied in order that the cohort reflected the typical cross section of patients with ADHD.
Diagnostic classifiers were developed using statistical pattern recognition for the entire age range and for specific age ranges and were tested using cross-validation and by application to a separate cohort of recordings not used in the development process. The age-specific classification approach was more accurate (76% accuracy in the independent test cohort; 81% cross-validation accuracy) than the age-independent version (76%; 73%). Chronological age was found to be an important classification feature.
The novel application of EEG-based classification methods presented here can offer significant benefit to the clinician by improving both the accuracy of initial diagnosis and ongoing monitoring of children and adolescents with ADHD. The most accurate possible diagnosis at a single point in time can be obtained by the age-specific classifiers, but the age-independent classifiers are also useful as they enable longitudinal monitoring of brain function.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Other keywords

  • ADHD
  • Börn
  • Rannsóknir
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Electroencephalography
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnosis
  • Adolescent
  • Child


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