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Can A Blood Test Diagnose ADHD?Filed Under: Alternative Treatments for ADHD, ADHD Causes
"I've read that ADHD is caused by a deficiency of norepinephrine. Can a blood test show such a deficiency and diagnose ADHD?"
Researchers discovered that ADHD is caused by a deficiency of norepinephrine (or one of its building blocks, dopa or dopamine) through extensive analysis of spinal fluid, blood, and urine. Newer studies have used brain-imaging to clarify this connection.
Because the studies are time-consuming and expensive, they aren't used outside of the research laboratory. To date, we do not have a biological test to diagnose ADHD. Instead, the diagnosis is based on clinical history and observations.
Larry Silver, M.D., is the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities. He is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C.